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Lakeland College's English Language Institute (ELI) summer program is hosting a record number of students and educators from three countries this summer.
A total of 71 participants are spending four weeks on Lakeland's Sheboygan County campus improving their English-speaking skills and experiencing American and Midwestern culture. Participants include six students from China, 22 Chinese professors, six Colombian professors and 37 Korean students.
Participants in Lakeland's ELI Program come from Lakeland's sister schools. Students from South Korea attend Koje College and Ansan University. The Chinese professors and students hail from the East China Institute of Technology.
Lakeland's developing relationship with La Universidad Reformada in Barranquilla, Colombia, led to Colombian professors participating in this summer's program. Officials from the two schools are talking about an exchange which would allow Lakeland Spanish majors to travel there for study abroad.
The visitors receive culture and language instruction in the morning followed by activities hosted by Lakeland College Student Language Partners. To help connect the classroom work to real life, the ELI participants will be out and about in the Sheboygan area visiting local restaurants and businesses along Sheboygan's Eighth Street during a scavenger hunt.
Other Sheboygan activities include kayaking on the Sheboygan River and building sand sculptures on the lake front. The students will also get a taste of regional attractions such as Milwaukee's Miller Park, Six Flags Great America and a day trip to Chicago.
"Few experiences can fully integrate the mission and values of Lakeland College like the cross-cultural experience offered through the Summer ELI program," said ELI Director Tim Fojtik. "The mission and values are what drive this program.
"Lakeland provides diverse groups of students the opportunity for intellectual growth and a chance to engage in the examination of ideas, values and actions. The Lakeland students who work in the Summer ELI and the students and professors from around the world who participate in the program are living this mission in its purest sense."
Fojtik said the ELI program has enjoyed steady growth over the past several summers, benefitting students and educators from visiting nations, as well as Lakeland faculty, staff and students.
"These relationships have opened up opportunities for Lakeland students and graduates to have relevant and profound experiences around the world," Fojtik said. "And all our work is done under the umbrella of having a lot of fun, which needs no translation."