Learning languages and making friends

While studying abroad you’ll have the opportunity to boost your English skills and explore new cultures!

And INTO University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) students now have even more ways of getting to know their new home.

Unique cultural and language programs are enhancing their study and helping them transition into US life more easily.

Helping you adapt

I participated in Language Partners when I was a student, and it absolutely helped me adapt to a new environment,”

said Xinyu Zhai, a former international student from China.

Xinyu is now a member of the INTO UAB English faculty, where he now coordinates language and cultural exchange programs similar to those who helped him as a student.

UAB offers three language exchange programs: Language Partners, Chinese/ English Language Exchange and a Cultural Partners for undergraduates.

“As the Program Coordinator, I make connections,” said Xinyu. “I provide opportunities for pathway students, UAB university students, and even community volunteers to get to know each other. Most importantly, INTO UAB students are becoming more involved in the American society.”

Practice talking and listening

During weekly Language Partners sessions, students talk with native English-speakers to practice talking and listening, learn about US culture, and make American friends.

“I was curious about what it is going to be like in a group,” said Linh, a Biotechnology pathway student from Vietnam. “At first, I thought it was going to be formal, but the conversation between us was really comfortable and fun. We shared our school experiences, and my English skills have really improved!”

Sharing languages with university students

In the Language Exchange, university students with a Chinese minor meet with Chinese-speaking INTO students, where they help each other with their new languages. And plans are already in place to expand this to include all foreign languages offered at UAB.

Another program offered to undergraduate students is a semester-long project. The program is a semester-long project where INTO students and freshmen from UAB’s Honors College pair up to explore the university and the Birmingham area.

Students have already explored local parks and museums, cafes and restaurants, and attended UAB football games together.

Learning about another culture is an excellent way to become aware of one’s own culture. In sharing fun experiences every week, students will hopefully get to know each other – and their own cultures – better.”

said Dr. Josephine Prado, professor in the UAB School of Education and Honors College.

Does the cultural and language support at INTO and the University of Alabama at Birmingham sound appealing to you? Discover more about studying with UAB here

You may also like to read about how Uraz from Cyprus adapted to US culture

To connect with other students and stay updated with student life, learning at INTO UAB, follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

Tracy Ratledge

Hey, I am an editor at INTO North America. As a journalist and storyteller, I love learning and writing about our outstanding students. As an aspiring singer-songwriter and comedy fanatic, you'll find me singing and laughing at length outside of the office.

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