Lina Garatly of Jeddah, Saudia Arabia and Ting Qian of Shanghai, China, hold the distinction of being the first two graduates of BridgePathways at Chadron State College, an on-campus Intensive English Program designed to help students improve their English and matriculate full-time at CSC.
Garatly, who attended an American high school in England, is undecided on a major, but excited to begin CSC courses in January.
She said she was interested in journalism, medicine and marketing during high school so she may return to one of these disciplines or find a new interest. She is fascinated by history and chose to write the research paper required for passing Bridge Level 5 about the Islamic Golden Age.
She was pleasantly surprised by the size of the CSC campus especially since she enjoys hiking and photography on the nearby trails. Another positive aspect to her first eight weeks on campus was meeting several other international students.
BridgePathways Academic Manager Tiffany Hendrix said Garatly’s grammar score increased an impressive two points on a six-point scale during the course.
Like Garatly, Qian is excited to begin her college studies. She plans to major in art and graphic design.
“I like campus. It’s quiet and friendly. This is a good study atmosphere. There is a lot of resources here. I’ve made friends and they’ve helped me adapt to life better. Living here is better and safer than a city,” Qian said.
Qian experienced pumpkin carving, basketball and football games during the fall semester. She celebrated her first American Thanksgiving in Kearney with a new friend, Bethany Bergstrom who is a CSC student. She stays in touch with her family through Skype and plans to spend Christmas with the family of her writing tutor and CSC student Maggie Darnell.
Everyone involved in the program has been supported by the faculty, staff and administration, which Hendrix said she appreciates.
“I’m very proud of all the students and their consistent improvement,” she said.
Hendrix said the classes are designed to develop the four essential English skills – reading, writing, speaking and listening – in the most student-centered way possible.
“We watch various media and attend CSC guest lectures for listening and note-taking practice. The guest lecture attendance gives the students a chance to apply the skills they work with in the Bridge classroom to their near-future reality,” Hendrix said.
“In order to increase authentic listening practice, we welcome students in all fields to utilize our classroom as a practice venue for upcoming presentations. All members of the campus community are welcome to stop in at any time to observe what we’re doing,” Hendrix said. The program is located in Old Admin Room 109.
In addition to inviting guests into the classroom, the students and Hendrix venture out into the area surrounding Chadron.
In early December, they visited Dr. Don King’s home east of Chadron where they were introduced to horses and the basics of horseback riding.
The students ended their orientation in October with a scavenger hunt which included the Bean Broker, the Eagle movie theater, and the farmers market, as an introduction to Chadron. Possible late spring field trips include excursions to Wind Cave and Chadron State Park and Custer State Park.
Ji Feng of Shanghai, China, started the program in the fall and will continue in the January with other incoming students.
—Tena L. Cook, Marketing Coordinator