Hello everyone! My name is Burak and I am a Business Administration student at the Abdullah Gül University (AGU). In this blog post, I am going to share my English study trip experience in the US.
One of the opportunities that AGU offers its Turkish students is an English course in the USA during the summer following their English Prep School year. My four friends and I went to one of the ELS centers in the USA, which is in the San Francisco-North Bay (CA) area. The North Bay Center is on the campus of the Dominican University of California, which gives us the chance to communicate with American students in order to practice our English. We even had the opportunity to join some of the classes at the University as guest students, to experience American student life.
There are two housing options for the course: to stay either with a host-family or in a student house. I highly recommend staying with a host-family, since their native language is English. They are willing to help you improve your English by talking to you at the dinner table and during the activities that you are doing with them. My host-family was really kind and they accepted me as a member of their family. They took me to concerts and baseball games, hiking, and to dine out. Another benefit of staying with the host-families is having a chance to discover the culture of American families – such as their food culture, relationships and family values – and to teach them some of your own culture.
On the first day of the course, ELS makes you take an exam in order to evaluate your English level and to place you into the right class, with students who have the same level as you. There are different classes focusing on different skills like Writing, Reading, Speaking, Listening, and Grammar; and ELS evaluates your progress for each skill with weekly and final exams. If you think that joining a higher or lower level class will help you progress more than your current level class, you may talk with the academic director and with his and your teachers’ approval, you may change your level. At the end of the course, you get a certificate and if you finish the 12th level, you can enroll in a 4-year university.
Aside from the lessons, ELS organizes many activities on- and off- campus, as well as trips to the city center and to nearby cities. In San Francisco, you can walk across the Golden Gate Bridge, visit the Alcatraz Island, drive a car down Lombard Street and take a city tour with the famous Cable Car.
I also recommend going to different cities. For example, some of my friends and I went to Los Angeles and took a city tour, walked on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and went to Universal Studios, which was my favorite. You will also make many good friends from all over the world, like from the USA, Argentina, Brazil, Japan, China, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, France, Spain, Germany, Russia, Italy…
For instance, we rented a car and went to Palo Alto to visit Facebook, Google, Apple and Stanford with our Brazilian friend Pedro and still keep in touch with him and many others.
All in all, spending two months in the USA has helped me improve my English a lot, mostly because everything you hear, read, and speak is in English. With the certificate that I received, I can now join an American university.
It also contributed to my personal development, since I lived thousands of kilometers away from my home for 2 months and took all the decisions myself.
My last suggestion is that before going to the USA, you research a little about the ELS center, the area of the school and your home, and prepare a list of places you want to see in the city you will live in and the nearby cities you might want to go visit. Also, bring a diary with you and write in it on a daily basis. Enjoy every moment!!!
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.
Business Administration, Faculty of Management Sciences
Abdullah Gul University, Kayseri/ Turkey