Experts say the only true way to master a new language is to immerse yourself in it. And that’s exactly what 168 middle- and high-school-aged students from Cixi, China, will be doing next week as they embark on an intense two-week English-language “summer camp” that begins at Cal State Northridge.
The university will celebrate the culmination of the group’s visit to Northridge with a special ceremony on Friday, July 8, from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Grand Salon of the University Student Union, located on the east side of the campus off Zelzah Avenue.
“Our role is to provide them with English-language instruction. They will spend the mornings during the short time they are here in English classes and the afternoons in activities that will give the students an opportunity to practice their English,” said Mary Baxton, an international recruitment and admissions specialist with Cal State Northridge’s Tseng College and coordinator of the group’s visit to CSUN.
The group from Cixi’s Yucai Middle School near Shanghai, includes 168 students between 13 and 19 years of age, 17 teachers, seven team leaders and three parents. They arrive in Southern California on Wednesday, July 6, and will spend the next two days of intensive English immersion at Cal State Northridge. The weekend spent taking a quick tour of Southern California before the group leavse Monday, July 11, for the East Coast leg of their trip.
“Their stay at CSUN will be very short, but intense,” Baxton said. “We are going to give them every opportunity to practice their English with real English speakers, including our students.”
Baxton said the Chinese students have been studying English from a young age, but the trip to the Untied States is the first time they will get a chance to practice the language on true English speakers, colloquialisms and all.
“It may be a challenge, but they are going to practice ‘real’ English,” she said.
Baxton said the visit by the Chinese teenagers was prompted by a relationship between Cal State Northridge faculty and Chinese educators. Once Northridge officials learned of the students’ desire to come to the United States to practice their English, Tseng College representatives did everything they could to facilitate the visit. The college, which offers an intensive English immersion program for students interested in attending college in the United States, was in the perfect position to offer the students and teachers of Yucai Middle School what they needed educationally.
“We here in the extended learning division of the university do this type of teaching on a regular basis all year round,” she said.