English Short Course for 2014 Arryman Fellows

One of the advantages of being an Arryman Fellow is joining a three-week English as a Second Language (ESL) short course, which is specially designed for the newly arrived fellows. The tutor for this year is Kathleen Geraghty, a Northwestern graduate from the Communication Sciences and Disorders Department. The intensive course lasted for three weeks for about three hours per day. The course was mainly conducted at the Roberta Buffett Center for International and Comparative Studies at Northwestern University, with several occasional field trips to downtown Evanston.

During the course, the Arryman Fellows received not only English language tutorials, but also how to adapt to American culture, both in academic and casual settings. For instance, Ms. Geraghty taught the Arryman Fellows how to lead a fruitful discussion as a student or as a teaching assistant (TA). She also taught the fellows how to create an impressive elevator pitch – a very brief introduction – which will be very useful when they meet their future colleagues or professors in various occasions such as seminars, conferences or casual meetings in their respective department hallway. One of the most important lessons that the fellows received from their tutor was how to pronounce words in an American English accent, which is very different compared to other English accents, such as Singlish, Taglish or even British English.

English Course Tutorial

Short course at Roberta Buffett Center for International and Comparative Studies

Ms. Geraghty employed various teaching methods that not only made the tutorials seemed less serious, but also significantly improved the fellows’ understanding about ESL and American culture. For instance, in one of the tutorial sessions, Ms. Geraghty took the Arryman Fellows to a local coffee shop in downtown Evanston. She wanted to introduce the fellows to service culture in the US. The fellows learned that tipping is a very important custom in American service culture because it shows our appreciation to the good service of the server. On a different note, the fellows also learned that pronouncing “café latte” in an American English accent is slightly different compared to an Indonesian one. It may seem unimportant, but one of the fellows almost ended up with a cup of tea instead of a latte because the way Indonesians pronounce latte sounds similar to the word “tea” for a native speaker of American English.

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Field trip to a local coffee shop

The short course also helped the fellows prepare for the SPEAK and VERSANT tests, which are required by the International Summer Institute (ISI) to measure English proficiency of the incoming international students. ISI requires the new international students to pass the tests.  Otherwise, those who failed the tests will need to attend additional classes in order to improve their English skills.

In conclusion, the short course was useful for the new fellows to adjust to the new environment in the US. The short course was a great initiative by the Equality Development and Globalization Studies (EDGS) to maximize the potentials of the new fellows, so that they can easily immerse in Northwestern University and its culture.

Yoes C. Kenawas, 2014 Arryman Fellow.

* The Arryman Fellows would like to deliver their highest gratitude to Kathleen Geraghty for her guidance, passion and determination in helping the fellows to adjust to their new life in the US.

Run for Walk Race

On Sunday, July 27, I joined the 3rd Run For Walk Race organized by Northwestern University (NU). The race was a 4.1mile (approximately 6.6kilometers) run starting from Ryan Field or NU’s grand football stadium, then along the campus’ lake and Sports Pavilion and Aquatics Center (SPAC), and back again to Ryan Field.

The race is held annually from 2012 to commemorate one of the university’s best football coaches. Head Coach Randy Walker contributed many victories for the Wildcats (pride and mascot of NU) and died of a heart attack at a young age in 2006. The figure “4.1” is taken from Coach Walker’s jersey during his collegiate football years in Miami University.

One of the reasons I joined this mini marathon was because an NU t-shirt and a ticket to NU’s football game giveaways were promised for a $25 registration. However, experiencing completely new athletic participation and keeping my body in shape were my two main motivations. I am glad I actually made the decision to register for Run For Walk.

I managed to persuade my colleague Yoes to join as well. Both of us admire the passion Americans have for sports. More than 600 people—and about 10 dogs—were present at the 7.30 am race. People in their senior years were even more enthusiastic than the youngsters to run and walk until the end of the race. It was also interesting to see adorable children joining the run and bringing their pet dogs along.

Another big excitement for me was also being finally able to see an American College Football Stadium (just like in the movies). On the walls of Ryan Field surrounding the spectators’ sitting area, I saw the years of NU’s victories in Big Ten conference championships. In the middle was a large press office box that looked very sophisticated. Americans not only take academic issues but also collegiate sports very seriously.

From this healthy and fun experience, I also learned about a sophisticated technology called “B-Chip” timing system. A chip was attached to the back of my bib and so after finishing the race, I was able to know the exact pace of my run and my rank among the total number participants.

In short, what seemed to be simply a fun race just to keep myself fit and socialize with new friends in the beginning, felt like a serious race at the end of the day. The organizers had done a great job in motivating people like myself to continue doing sports on a regular basis to up my game next time. I highly recommend anyone coming to NU to join next year’s Run For Walk race. Even without actually winning 1st place, the rewards of the race are still fulfilling.

Posing with NU's mascot, Wildcat Wille at the Finish line in Ryan Field.

Posing with NU’s mascot, Wildcat Wille at the Finish line in Ryan Field.

The B-Chip timing system enables me to search my results online.

The B-Chip timing system enables me to search my results online.