Exploring Batavia

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What is the best way to learn English? I had been asked this question many times. To me, the best way to learn any language is to actually be in the country where that language is commonly used. Thus, I think the best way to learn English is to come and study in America.

On May 22nd 2014, GCC welcomed 29 Japanese students to come study as part of the ESL (English as a Second Language) program during the summer. This program helps these international students enhance their skills in English that will prepare them for the college courses that they will be taking in the Fall semester.

IMG_3561According to Kathleen Klaiber, GCC English and ESL Instructor, GCC incorporated a summer tour to the school’s ESL program to help increase student knowledge about American culture. For many years, she had been working to coordinate wonderful trips for ESL students to various places around Western New York.

Last Friday, the class took a tour around Batavia by B-Line bus to see some of the attractions in town. As the bus drove around, Mrs. Klaiber pointed out important places that students may want to know such as the library, hospitals and post office. Student Erin Kanno said that this was her favorite part of the trip.

IMG_3639After the bus tour the group visited the Peace Garden and the Holland Land Museum in downtown Batavia. At the museum, students were able to learn about the birth of Western New York and the old living style of the people back then. “I want to stay in the museum longer, because I like history” said Kentaro Kawase, while Yu Shimizu hopes to visit the museum again once her English improves.

Afterward, the students ate lunch at Rancho Viejo, a Mexican restaurant in Batavia. For most of them, it was their first time eating Mexican food. “I like it, Mexican food was surprisingly delicious.” said Hiroki Yoshida. The most fun part for students was dessert at Oliver’s candy shop. “I really enjoy the candy shop, it is really cute. Japan doesn’t really have cute candy stores like that.” said Mina Horiuchi.

IMG_3676The trip ended, but this is just the beginning of the summer. There are still many adventures to have and many places to explore. In the upcoming weeks, these students will get to visit the Jello Museum, Jazz Festival, Kiwanis Park, Lechworth State Park, Niagara Falls  and many more places. At GCC, learning doesn’t necessary take place only in the classroom and certainly, the summer tour had successfully prepared many students for their next step in education in America.

Star Gazing

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Summer at College Village may seem boring, but we have roughly 30 students staying in this big dormitory under one building and most of them are new Japanese students who have just arrived at GCC. Because it is the summer, it may not the best time to explore GCC as an international student, but to me this is the summer of youth.

With not many people around, we learned everyone’s name very quickly and soon became friends. Friday was beautiful day with nice weather. I bought a big watermelon and invited the international students to come watch Batavia’s sky at night. We all sat at the basketball court as we enjoyed slices of watermelon, strawberry, snacks and green tea. Everyone brought a little something to contribute to this star gazing night and we all came with a smile!

It was a great opportunities for them to get to know more about all the other students. In addition, it was a chance for them to practice English. So, I had everyone introduce themselves, their major and hobbies. We talked through the night about how coming to GCC is a whole new experience with so many new things to learn about the American culture. We shared stories about our hometown and how different they are from Batavia.

The night ended with a challenge to eat dried salmon with whipped cream! We all had a good laugh at the reactions of our brave challengers. It was fun and we made it happen, after all, we are a community here at College Village!