As part of a resolution to participate in community outreach at least once a month, the Student Assembly (S.A.) dined with Intensive English students in place of their usual weekly meeting.
The Intensive English Program (IEP) is “a program that helps [students] learn our customs and how ‘normal’ Cornell students talk,” said Katie Howell ’04, vice president of communication for IEP.
During the dinner, S.A. members and IEP students had a chance to discuss a wide range of topics, from the national health care system in South Korea to housing problems to the current political situation in Venezuela.
“The best experience [as a student in IEP] is seeing how different people look at the world — maybe things that are right and normal for you are taboo for others,” said Chriss Ruiz, a student from Venezuela. “Being a foreign student is hard, but it is very fun at the same time.”
The IEP is made up of 49 students who speak a total of nine different native languages and have 39 fields of study. The students are non-matriculated, though many are applying to Cornell now or are considering doing so in the future.
“It’s like a study-abroad experience [and] the majority of them have come here with the intention of going into some higher education institution in America,” said Richard L. Feldman ’69, director of the Language Learning Center.
Feldman gave a short speech during the dinner, expanding further on the goals and methods of the IEP.
“One of the things we do as teachers is encourage [the students] to find their places in the community. … The program tries to provide a kind of transitional community for the students,” Feldman said.
He also commented on the new complexities involved in obtaining international student visas.
“It’s become much more difficult to come here — a lot more paperwork,” he said.
Though IEP students stay at Cornell for a relatively short time, “they’re bringing to the Cornell community their experiences, backgrounds and perspectives,” Feldman added.
Howell was pleased with the turnout of both S.A. members and IEP students, and S.A. president Noah Doyle ’03 expressed his satisfaction with the way the S.A. has carried out its community involvement resolution.
“I’m really proud of the work [Howell] has done in reaching out to the community. Service is an intricate part of leadership; I’m proud the S.A. has taken part in a service event every month this year,” Doyle said.
The S.A. hoped that the resolution would have a broader effect as well.
“We really wanted this to have a domino effect on our campus leaders to reach out and benefit Cornell and the surrounding community,” he said.
Archived article by Elizabeth Donald