Date of Award

10-2015

Culminating Project Type

Thesis

Degree Name

English: Teaching English as a Second Language: M.A.

Department

English

College

College of Liberal Arts

First Advisor

James Robinson

Second Advisor

Isolde Mueller

Third Advisor

Emily Schultz

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

ESL, Community Colleges, International Students, Language Acquisition

Abstract

International students have become an increasingly important part of the higher education system in the United States. Recognizing that communication and social belonging are two of the strongest factors in successfully acquiring a second language, this paper looks at attempts to implement in international student program at a rural, Midwest community college, following a cohort of four international students in a nine-month program to identify barriers and facilitators in language learning and feelings of acceptance. By reviewing the perceptions, feelings and actions of these students as well as their instructors, I hope to identify some reasons why this program failed. Reviewing what institutional level barriers at MLC prevented international students from feeling embraced by the academic community and what would have enhanced the feeling of acceptance for international students as well as what led to the failure of the international program at MLC, this study identified several organizational and community-wide factors needing improvement or implementation. Using semi-structured interviews with the four international students in the CCID program, as well as the staff and faculty who regularly interacted with these students, the intent of this project was to identify the sociocultural factors that were perceived to have an impact, both positively and negatively, on a formalized international student program at MLC. By the start of fall semester 2013, all formal international student programs had been dropped, citing lack of infrastructure and the need to have a full-time ESL instructor and unwillingness or inability on the part of MLC to commit the funds to develop these two crucial areas for a successful language acquisition program.

International students have become an increasingly important part of the higher education system in the United States. Recognizing that communication and social belonging are two of the strongest factors in successfully acquiring a second language, this paper looks at attempts to implement in international student program at a rural, Midwest community college, following a cohort of four international students in a nine-month program to identify barriers and facilitators in language learning and feelings of acceptance. By reviewing the perceptions, feelings and actions of these students as well as their instructors, I hope to identify some reasons why this program failed. Reviewing what institutional level barriers at MLC prevented international students from feeling embraced by the academic community and what would have enhanced the feeling of acceptance for international students as well as what led to the failure of the international program at MLC, this study identified several organizational and community-wide factors needing improvement or implementation. Using semi-structured interviews with the four international students in the CCID program, as well as the staff and faculty who regularly interacted with these students, the intent of this project was to identify the sociocultural factors that were perceived to have an impact, both positively and negatively, on a formalized international student program at MLC. By the start of fall semester 2013, all formal international student programs had been dropped, citing lack of infrastructure and the need to have a full-time ESL instructor and unwillingness or inability on the part of MLC to commit the funds to develop these two crucial areas for a successful language acquisition program.

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