Internexus Illinois brings the world to us

Internexus Illinois brings the world to us

By Hyun Ah Lee

By Hyun Ah Lee

Student Intern

Rockford College is known as a place where students can receive a good education. However, for some people, the campus is an exciting place to start a new life in America. Who are they? They are foreign students who are eager to learn English. They study at the Internexus Illinois program at Rockford College.

The Internexus Illinois, formerly known as English Language Study Center (ELSC), has been located at Rockford College since 1987. This Internexus Illinois branch is part of an international a company, which has many centers all over the world including the USA, England, Spain, Germany, Brazil and Argentina.

The Rockford center now has 25 students from various countries including Belarus, Brazil, China, Colombia, Iran, Japan, Korea, Lithuania, Mongolia and Venezuela. They learn not only English, but also diverse cultures from the other students through classes and everyday life.

The students’ regular program of study consists of classes for four hours a day, five days a week. This program is composed of a grammar class, a reading and writing class and a listening and speaking class. Every student has his own schedule and level according to his English skills. They can also take a special intensive course—academic class—that prepares students to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) to enter a college.

One distinctive feature of Internexus is its special activities. Whenever a new session starts, students get new calendars that are teeming with interesting activities such as movies, concerts, trips to Chicago, Japanese tea ceremonies, or football games. Every session has different kinds of activities. Teachers, staff and students make the new calendar together before each session starts. These activities bring the students closer together and create lasting friendships. They also give students experiences in real American culture.

Another remarkable thing about this center is that it offers an internship program. Students can have many chances to meet Americans outside the classroom. An internship program is helpful for students to practice their English more and learn about American business.

Students live in either a homestay with an American family or in the dormitory. Most of the students live in a homestay because they can experience American culture as well as learn intonation and pronunciation of the language in everyday life. For example, idioms are one of the most difficult things for foreign students to learn, but students can understand idioms more easily by living in the American culture with everyday speech.

The attack on September 11th affected the program, too. At this time last year, there were 51 students. “Students are afraid of flying to the USA, and the US government has become more strict about granting visas after the attack,” stated the center’s Director Mary Giometta.

Giometta has worked in the Internexus for 13 years, and she is preparing other plans such as starting a night class for adults. She is also creating a volunteer project that will connect students with the Rockford community, such as the Salvation Army Paint-a-thon.

Giometta gets a great deal of satisfaction from her job. “I grow to know the students well. Some students knew nothing when they first arrived,” she stated. “We taught them, starting with the alphabet. Now they are ready to study at the college level. That is rewarding to me.”

Each of the Internexus Illinois students has different facets to their dream. All of them come here to improve their English skills. Some of them want to enter a college. Some want to settle down in America. Some will return home.

What is more, they have different cultures. Some students kiss the other person’s cheeks when they first meet, but some students are not even familiar with shaking hands in greeting.

On the other hand, they have the same goal—learning English. Therefore, they share each other’s joys and sorrows, and they support each other in this foreign country. Every day, they try to realize their dream.

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