Nine visiting Mexican students pose with Center for Global Engagement staff members.

A group of nine Mexican students arrived on October 30 to study at the English Language Institute (ELI) of the College of Staten Island (CSI)/The City University of New York (CUNY) with English classes, conferences, academic activities, and field trips. They received a warm welcome session from Deputy Director, Barbara Clark, and ELI Director, Gonzalo Villena, both from the Center for Global Engagement of CSI.

The students learned about their one-month program with an orientation that provided details about their stay in New York and at CSI. Clark talked about topics related to their visa status, safety issues, and transportation, among other important topics that will let the students have a great time in New York City. The orientation also offered information of their daily activities and academic duties. They took an English placement test before starting classes, which will cover grammar, reading, writing, and speaking skills plus TOEFL workshop training.

Fun Program

During their program, they will have weekly meetings with the CSI International Student Club, and attend films and fun activities during International Education Week, as well as information sessions. The English program will also let them practice their language skills during the Culture Day event, where they will have the chance to speak in English about Mexico.

Students will not only study English but also have fun. They will have a tour around Manhattan in hop-on/hop-off buses where they will see famous tourist attractions such as the Empire State Building, Times Square, and the World Trade Center, among others, plus a Broadway show.

Scholarship from Mexico

Participants come from different cities in Mexico. The Mexican government offered more than 1,000 full scholarships to study in the United States. Students selected had to demonstrate high academic grades in their own institutions in order to get the scholarship called Student Training Program Proyecta 100,000 United States 2017, coordinated through the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Mexican Agency of International Development Cooperation. Students will live with host families during the entire program, which will let them learn about U.S. culture during Thanksgiving and family activities.

Great Expectations

Aurora Soto from Sinaloa, Mexico expressed her expectations while in New York. “We are so thankful for this opportunity and we invite all of you to study here because it’s a great experience,” she said.

Cielo Valdez, also from Sinaloa, mentioned after the orientation that she was fortunate to be at CSI. “I applied for this government scholarship and, fortunately, I got it to improve my English level,” Cielo noted.

Lynette Ochoa, originally from Los Mochis in Sinaloa, was excited to be at CSI and enjoyed her campus tour. “I hope you can come here and know this campus. It is really, really, really beautiful. You have to come here, you have to know it,” Lynette said.

Fall term

Students will join the ELI Fall term that usually runs from August to December. Villena stated that these “students will have a great opportunity to meet international students who are also learning English at ELI. This will show a great mix of nationalities in the classrooms because, this Fall term, ELI has students from all over the world such as Albania, China, Ecuador, Italy, Japan, Korea, Macedonia, Peru, Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Turkey, and Vietnam, among others.”

Commenting on the exceptional quality of the programs at ELI, Villena added that “ELI has been nominated as a host sponsor of this program for the third year in a row, which shows the confidence that international institutions have in ELI, since it has welcomed different groups with government scholarships and grants as well as English as a Second Language (ESL) customized and faculty-led programs. ELI is a member of the EnglishUSA association, which shows the high standards that institutions such as ELI have to have in ESL programs.”

More information on the visit is available on the ELI Facebook page as well as the Institute’s Youtube page.