Summer ESL program offers students from around the world a preview of life at Mac

These students are among the 178 university students from around the world currently on campus yo take part in a summer ESL program developed by McMaster's Office of International Affairs.

These students are among the 178 university students from around the world currently on campus to take part in a unique summer ESL program developed by McMaster's Office of International Affairs.

Undergraduate students from universities around the world are now on campus taking part in a unique program that combines English language instruction and cultural immersion with an introduction to some of McMaster’s most innovative academic programming.

The multi-week program, spearheaded by McMaster’s Office of International Affairs(OIA), is bringing together 178 students from China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Turkey to not only improve their language skills, but to attend a range of academic sessions focussed on eHealth, as well as on topics related to entrepreneurship and innovation.

“It’s wonderful to see people from around the world come to McMaster and be immersed in our programs,” says McMaster Provost, David Farrar who spoke to the students earlier this week. “McMaster is ranked in the top 100 universities in the world and we have some areas of deep strength. I hope you enjoy your time here and learn from those areas of strength.”

Over the coming weeks, international students from a number of disciplines including STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), humanities, business and social sciences, will participate in English classes taught by graduate students and recent alumni from McMaster’s Faculty of Humanities, as well as by Hamilton-area ESL instructors.

Many students will also participate in sessions focussed on either eHealth, or on entrepreneurship and innovation. EHealth sessions will be taught by McMaster faculty members, including Norm Archer, the director of McMaster’s eHealth MSc program, as well as instructors from the DeGroote School of Business and the Faculties of Health Sciences and Engineering. Sessions will cover a number of topics from evidence-based medicine and eHealth standards, to telehealth, mobile health and artificial intelligence.

Entrepreneurship and innovation sessions, which were designed in collaboration with China’s Fudan University School of Information Science and Technology, will examine diverse topics such as start-ups and commercialization, business launch and development, and eco-innovation and sustainable society management. The sessions will be led by Alex Sévigny, the director of the Master of Communication Management program and Lofti Belkhir, associate professor in the W Booth School of Engineering Practice and Technology.

In addition, students will take part in a number of cultural immersion activities – both on campus and off – including outings in Hamilton, day trips to Niagara and Toronto, as well as a three-day trip with stops in Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City.

“These programs are an opportunity for international students to learn more about what McMaster has to offer academically, while improving their language skills and becoming familiar with campus and the surrounding region,” says May Zhai, a program manager in the Office of International Affairs who, along with OIA education coordinator Paul Leegsma, oversees McMaster’s summer ESL programs.

“We hope by running these programs, international students will become more aware of McMaster, “ Zhai continues. “And if they decide to study abroad in the future, we hope they will consider applying to Mac.”

Betty Ji took part in the OIA’s summer ESL program in 2007. She says it was this experience that led her to attend McMaster, eventually completing her undergraduate degree in commerce.

“It definitely opened up my mind about studying abroad,” says Ji,  who will be returning to McMaster to begin her PhD in marketing this fall. “I felt like my language skills really improved while I was here and when I went back to China, I couldn’t believe how good my English was, also the campus was beautiful – I just loved it. I knew I wanted to come back here for school”

Students from a number of leading universities are taking part in the program, including students from Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai Institute of Visual Arts, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz University, Fudan University, University of Science and Technology of China, and Turkey’s Yeditepe University, among many others.

The program is one of a number of summer ESL programs developed and run by the OIA. Later this month, medical doctors from China’s Shanghai Jiao Tung University will be on campus to take part in courses related to medical education and problem-based learning delivered by instructors from the Faculty of Health Science.

As well, 128 high school students from a number of countries are currently at McMaster participating in a four-week English language training and cultural immersion program.



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