Intensive English program builds bridge to CBU international students
Riverside, Calif. (Aug. 26, 2014) – Imagine pursuing a college degree in a language other than your mother tongue. A growing number of international students are doing just that at California Baptist University and fortunately for them, Shelley Clow is on the job. As director of CBU’s intensive English program, Clow works to help international students sharpen their English skills.
“I have always had a passion for international students,” Clow said. “The language-learning area is a field that I find fascinating and a bridge to connect me with international students and people of other cultures. So I get really inspired by relationships with these people, the courage that it must take to go pursue a degree in a language that is not their mother tongue.”
Clow has worked for six years as an adjunct professor in the program but also served as an academic advisor for Online and Professional Studies. In her current role, she will assess student needs and develop study plans in response.
The intensive English program prepares international students for the level of English proficiency they need to succeed in their academic program at CBU, she said. Some students don’t need the program at all. Those that do need help receive 20 hours of intense instruction per week, covering skills such as oral communication, listening, pronunciation, vocabulary, reading comprehension and writing.
About 80 new international students are expected to start in the fall, Clow said. Nearly one third of that number will need the language program. CBU’s international students come from countries such as China, Brazil, India, Rwanda and South Korea.
The CBU community is in a unique position where the university is not going to international students around the world; they are coming to CBU, presenting an opportunity for students, faculty and staff to influence those who have never been reached by the gospel, Clow said.
“We have an opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus as well as to meet a need by teaching them English and language learning,” she said. “When people around campus have an opportunity to meet with or work with any of our international students, I hope they can see the opportunity to make a connection with someone who is from another part of this large world that God made and to appreciate what a special opportunity it is.”