A home away from home

UW-W English learning academy celebrates five years


Katelyn Black

English Learning Academy students work together on group homework after their Thursday morning classes

Katelyn Black, Lifestyle Editor

The English Language Academy (ELA) is celebrating its fifth year of giving international students a home away from home.

Former Chancellor Telfer first poposed an initiative for the program, which was founded in 2014.

His idea was to increase the global community of the UW-Whitewater campus, which is exactly what ELA continues to do now, five years later.

Through the program, international students who chose to study here have the chance to take both a wide variety of classes adjusted specifically to their English confidence level and become more versed in the culture of the Whitewater community.

That original idea of integration and immersion is achieved by helping students to jump right in and get hands on according to Brianna Deering, intensive English Institute coordinator and lecturer for the English Language Academy.

“I think for our students it gives them a lot of confidence. A lot of our students come from programs where they may have learned some English, but before they start their degree programs at the university they’re able to gain confidence in their language by the activities we do across the campus and off campus as well, said Deering.”

And according to Anjie Kokan, ELA coordinator and lecturer, the benefits go both ways.

“Because we make sure they’re part of the community, the community engages with them, and the community enjoys it as well.”

After five years of classes and community Dr. Susan

Huss-Lederman, associate professor of languages and literatures, is seeing the effects of the program on the students who come here to study.

“I do hope that our program grows with its original intended purpose,” said Dr Huss-Lederman.“But I do think that we play a very important support role for international and exchange students who come here and want the language support to feel comfortable with the decision they made to come and study here.”

No matter which faculty member you ask, the program has done its job at making those so far away from home feel welcome here at UW-Whitewater.

This sentiment is especially true for Dr. Rossi Ivanova, a professor of languages and literatures who has taught in the program since its start in 2014.

“The program has done a fantastic job of supporting new international students and giving them a sense of ‘home’ at the university.”