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ELS students face unique challenges

Mackenzie Bristow, center director for the ELS language center, talked about the challenges of students from other countries adapting to American culture at her faculty lecture, “International Higher Education and Advocacy Work: From the Desk to DC” Monday. / photo by Jessica Harsen

Mackenzie Bristow, center director for the ELS language center, talked about the challenges of students from other countries adapting to American culture at her faculty lecture, “International Higher Education and Advocacy Work: From the Desk to DC” Monday. / photo by Jessica Harsen

Rachel Sandoval
Staff Writer

Students and faculty gathered Monday in the President’s Dining Room for Mackenzie Bristow’s second lecture in this year’s faculty lecture series.

Bristow, Center Director for ELS La Verne, spoke in front of students and faculty with a presentation titled “International Higher Education and Advocacy Work: From the Desk to DC.”

The lecture focused on international students at the University of La Verne that participate in a program that prepares students for university level work called ELS.

Bristow centered the lecture on the adversity that international students face when coming into a university of mainly English speaking students.

They go from being excited about coming to America to being culture shocked in a short amount of time, Bristow said.

The ELS Center caters to every student and their cultural background.

Bristow explained to students that ELS students receive a lesson in American cultural norms in their first days in America.

International students sometimes feel alone because of the cultural isolation that occurs.

The audience participated by asking in what ways they could help.

“I will definitely see the international students in Davenport Hall in a different light,” junior psychology major Emilee Crumrine said.

There are opportunities for non-ELS students to make a difference in an ELS student’s life through volunteering, Bristow said.

The ELS Center accepts mentors to help international students adapt to their new lifestyle. Students can help with schoolwork, show them around campus or just be a friend.

Students can also be a part of the international student club that participates with ELS students and study abroad opportunities.

“The International Student Club is a great place to meet international students,” Bristow said.

Another way is through International Student Education Week, which is Nov. 11-15, Bristow said.

Many students do not realize the battle of adjusting from their culture to a new one so acceptance from other students is important.

“I do look at the struggles of international students differently,” junior philosophy major Colin Fisk said.

There are also many ways that students and faculty can become more involved in the subject of international students.

There are tools such as the ELS Center and Connecting Our World, a website concerning the topic of international relations.

Students are also encouraged to study abroad to understand the international lifestyle, Bristow said.

She encouraged students to travel and experience international travel on their own.

Students and faculty asked questions regarding how they can make a difference to ELS students.

Bristow shared her story of traveling and living in Korea for a short amount of time with the audience.

The ELS program has been available at the University of La Verne since 2005.

There are 600 campuses in the United States that provide ELS curriculum to students that originate from the main offices in New Jersey.

Students are expected to complete the 12 level program so that they are ready for schoolwork on their own.

At the 10th level they are able to start beginning classes independently.

“Recently, the curriculum was revamped,” Bristow said. “Students study speaking, listening, reading and writing.”

The ELS program is now accepting mentor applications at their office.

Rachel Sandoval can be reached at rachel.sandoval@laverne.edu.

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