Chinese students have been coming to Greenville University for years, and in order to help with the language barrier, a lot of them enroll in GU’s UP Program. UP is a language class at GU, and it is a course for international students who know very little English or who want to learn more English before they transition into the university. Before beginning this program, several students had always been curious and interested in this course content. Especially after hearing that the UP course teacher was friendly, many students were more eager than ever to become a part of the University Pathways.
When students first enroll in the UP, they take a placement test so that the teacher would know their English abilities. After that, they formally join the course and begin the study.
Most students follow the schedule of having classes from 10:00 to 4:00 Monday through Friday with an hour lunch break at noon. This course’s preciseness is good because not only will it provide students with basic knowledge and enrich their learning progress, but it will also meet requirements of the learning process for international students. UP program is similar to Chinese high school education to a certain extent. Like Chinese secondary education, the program organizes regular examinations to test and evaluate students’ learning effects and students’ scores in these daily studies are also included in the final scores.
In addition to teaching English, UP teachers also arrange for students to go to outdoor museums, zoos, and shopping malls. These experiences enable internationals to integrate their learning into real life. For the international students, this integrated style of learning laid a good foundation of language to make sure they can quickly accept the cultural differences that is different from their home country.
After taking the UP program, internationals can feel the differences between China and the United States in education, living habits, and culture. According to my understanding of the Chinese and American education systems in the narrow sense that UP students experienced in the UP program, the American education system is more oriented towards the Chinese secondary school education model, which is mainly reflected in the curriculum arrangement. In China, few schools actively arrange students to participate in outdoor learning and practice, while more Chinese schools arrange students to receive and understand campus knowledge. American education is different. Compared with Chinese education, American education pays more attention to combining knowledge and life and pays more attention to practice. The American education association regularly leads students to observe and comprehend experience in outdoor activities. A UP student, Yutong Nan, has even been quoted saying
Yutong Nan: I’m an up student. I came here last year. For me, up is an excellent choice. Because I am a girl from China, I have some worries and fears about studying abroad. After all, I didn’t come to such a far place to spend my books. So I chose up for a language course. During this period, I strengthened my English study, especially listening and speaking. Because in up, we have to communicate in English every day. This is the language environment I don’t have in China. Taking up this course also made me familiar with the university campus in advance, which brought great convenience to my future college life, and at the same time, I could make many good friends. What I look forward to most every week is the weekend culture study. The teacher will take us up students to some museums, shopping malls, and zoos. My favorite zoo so far is St. Louis Zoo, because I like small animals very much. Although I like UP very much, I also want to study hard, graduate from up as soon as possible, and formally go to university.
The Chinese students who have taken up the up course are more robust than before in both English and independence. We highly recommend international students who want to improve their English to take up this course.