Chinese High School Students Get Philadelphia Lessons

By Purnell T. Cropper | August 3, 2010

By Sarah R. Schwartz ’10

Sixteen students from Jiaozhou High School in northern China visited Arcadia University last week for an introduction to American culture that included stops in Old City Philadelphia and Ocean City, N.J., along with instruction in ESL.

The students also were enjoyed some alumni hospitality, as several Arcadia alumni hosted small groups of students for dinner in their homes last Wednesday. Alumni hosts included Toya Lawson ’00, a member of the Arcadia University Board of Trustees; Marion Rosenbaum ’68; Lisa Pergolizzi Brock ’90; Nan Bers ’67; and John Rudolf ’00. Staff members also hosting students were Michele Reale, Judy Dalton, Debbie Blackstock, Jan Finn, and Calvin Wang. Betty Litsinger, Adjunct Professor of English Language Learning and ESL Support Coordinator, and Kelly Sirles ’11M conducted an ESL and American Culture seminar with the students, aged 15 to 17, who arrived on July 24.

The daily seminars focused on practical English such as manners, etiquette and requesting directions—even a contest to see who could name the most states in the United States. The top two students named 25 and 22 states.

The week’s activities included a walking tour and scavenger hunt in Old City Philadelphia, a day at Dorney Park, and an afternoon on the Beach at Ocean City, where the students were encouraged to use their new practical skills.

“This is a great experience for me. I’m really happy to have the opportunity to work with the guest students from China this summer.  This is different from some of my other ESL experiences, since I had been working with students in their home country,” says Sirles.

“Each of the students here are very eager to work and learn, and it’s wonderful knowing that I can make a lifelong impression on each one.  It’s an honor to be able to contribute to their first experience in the United States,” she adds.

Also serving as peer mentors were Arcadia students Amber Allen, Arunima Awale, Emily Brown, Adrian Chan, Tamara Florez-Jaramillo, Danny Ly, Leisl Reiman, Janelle Seiden, Corey Stevens, and Marisel Villarreal Rios.