By Deborah Thompson, Merida English Library
As you may already know, UADY is a public university. Students attending UADY are often the first in their families to attend a university. They generally attend school all day from Monday through Friday and live at home with their families.
Among other programs, UADY trains young people to become English teachers, mostly in the public schools. A few of these students are able to get financial assistance to go to the US to have a language immersion experience. The scholarships available are very limited in number.
UADY approached the Merida English Library for help in providing a cultural and language experience for approximately 30 students in the second year of English teacher preparation.
These 30 students would like to have 15 native English speakers help them to have a first-hand experience with the English language and another culture. The students have Saturdays free to spend time with English speakers. Other mutual times to meet can also be arranged. Two students will be paired with native English language speakers.
A great deal of flexibility is built into the program. The students need to have 20 contact hours with English speakers. The 20 hours can be arranged in many different ways. For example, two students could come to your house early on a Saturday, go shopping with you, cook lunch with you, visit friends with you, go to a museum, go to an English language movie, watch football with you, play cards with you…the choices are yours and the students’. The students have 4 months in which to obtain the 20 contact hours. All that is required is that 20 contact hours be completed sometime between January and May. If you are away for a month, that is no problem. The students are responsible for getting to and from your home or designated meeting place. The students will be required to keep a journal with reflections on language and culture.
The UADY students will have signed permission slips from their family. Prior to starting the 20 contact hours, there will be a meeting at MEL with a UADY representative who will be able to answer any questions and who will serve as a direct contact for families and students should any questions or concerns arise at any time.
This is a great opportunity to help in our community. It is also a great opportunity for you to have meaningful contact with young people in the community.
Please consider spending time helping a student who will, in turn, help others. For more information or to volunteer to be a host, please contact Deborah Thompson (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Source: Merida English Library
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