January 17, 2007

Charles Harmon Director of University Relations, Heather Harris Graduate Intern, David Starling, Assistant Director Office of International ProgramsPhone 229-333-7410

Guadalajara Summer Study Abroad Program Wins Recognition

The Institute of International Education (IIE) named Valdosta State University’s summer study abroad program in Guadalajara, Mexico as an Honorable Mention in the Study Abroad category for the Andrew Heiskell Awards for Innovation in International Education. In addition, the program also received the recognition of “Best Practices” in campus internationalization.

The nominated program, titled “ESOL and Spanish Language Training in Guadalajara, Mexico,” jointly organized through the department of Modern and Classical Languages, focuses on training teachers in the fields of Spanish and English to Speakers for Other Languages (ESOL).

Through the study abroad program, students live and perform daily activities in native Mexican family home stays. Also, the program gives students the opportunity to participate in the University of Guadalajara’s Spanish Language School Centro de Estudios para Extranjeros (CEPE) Amistad or Friendship program, which assigns students to a conversation partner from the university.

“The majority of learners our teachers serve have language backgrounds that fall outside what might be considered Standard English,” Dr. Rebecca Galeano, program site director, said. “This [ESOL] endorsement can help teachers learn how to use language variation for the good of each student whether they are a recent immigrant or a South Georgia native.”

On March 30, Drs. Galeano and Viki Soady, department head for Modern and Classical Languages, hope to attend and speak at the Second Annual IIE Best Practices Conference in New York about the success of the program.

“The real reward is in seeing our students come home and apply everything they learned abroad,” Dr. Galeano said. “We now have teachers who completed their ESOL endorsement with us in Guadalajara actually practicing in the community �" so we are seeing direct benefits of this program.”

Program organizers are now accepting participant applications for the summer 2007 program with possible funding for teachers from the Valdosta City, Lowndes and Colquitt County Schools. For more information, please contact the Dr. Galeano in the Office of Modern and Classical Languages at (229) 333-5948.

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