Representatives from the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea along with representatives from the Korean Ministry of Education’s National Institute for International Education visited the Texas Intensive English Program (TIEP) in March as part of an annual site visit for its Korea Work, English Study, Travel (WEST) program.
TIEP has been working with the Alliance Abroad Group (AAG) to provide Korea WEST students the English training component of their program since January 2017. Since that time, TIEP has taught three cohorts, and more than 100 students have participated in the program.
“The students come for English training and cultural orientation to prepare for their internships,” TIEP’s Director Terry Simon, Ph.D. explained. “They really are highly motivated and excellent students—it has been a joy to have them in our classes.”
It is the second time representatives from the program have traveled to Austin to meet with their students and to visit the site.
“They had questions about how the students are engaging with the community,” Dr. Simon said. “We spoke a lot about school-wide events such as Valentine’s Day, a Lunar New Year celebration the students organized, and an international potluck we hosted.”
Simon explained that it is not just about interacting with students taking TIEP courses. The organizers of the Korea WEST program want students to have a diverse experience. Not only does TIEP host weekly conversation clubs with Texas students, but students in the program often audit university courses as well.
“We offer a list of recommended courses for students to sit in on and audit at The University of Texas at Austin,” Dr. Simon said. “We make sure the courses do not conflict with their English classes at TIEP, and it is another way for the students to interact with others and to immerse themselves in American university culture.”
The spring cohort of Korea WEST students ended their courses on March 9. The next cohort is set to begin in August.