Six Mexican students will study English as a second language on the campus of Western Carolina University beginning in June.
They are part of their government’s “Proyecta 100,000” program, which intends to place 100,000 Mexican learners in the United States by 2018.
Jill Cargile, director of the Intensive English Program at WCU, said the students will live on campus in residence halls. “We plan to have host families meet with students for a daylong experience to provide a connection to American and local North Carolina culture,” she said. “We are also organizing a number of activities in the local area to help students gain a better understanding of American culture.”
Their four-week study will be intensive. “Our four-level program consists of approximately 20 hours per week of intensive language study in academic English,” Cargile said. “Our courses focus on academic reading, writing, listening, speaking. We will test the students’ English level when they arrive and their proficiency at the end of the program. If the proficiency gains are significant, as I expect, we hope the Mexican government will send more students in the future.”
According to correspondence confirming WCU’s participation, Proyecta 100,000 is part of a “renewed spirit of cooperation between the governments of Mexico and the United States” under the Bilateral Forum on Higher Education, Innovation and Research that Presidents Pena Nieto and Obama initiated last year.
Institutions of higher education participating in the program include the University of Arizona, Western Kentucky University, Texas State University and California State University Chico, among many others.
Cargile said participation in Proyecta 100,000 supports IEP expansion and recruitment plans. “My goal is to double the number of students from both Latin America and Asia in the IEP here at WCU in the next two years, while maintaining the superior quality program and instruction that we have. Most IEP students continue in undergraduate programs of study at WCU, but we also welcome students who want to attend only the IEP for English language instruction or who want to attend for a shorter period of time than our semester-long programs. Allowing for this kind of flexibility in the IEP to promote both growth and diversity will help us expand our young, four-year old program.”
“I am so pleased that my proposal was accepted for these students from Mexico to be in our Intensive English Program during June this year,” Cargile said.
To learn more about the IEP or Proyecta 100,000, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Keith Brenton