EAP: Meet Our Students

Chung-Yen Huang from Taiwan

Being a student-athlete in college can be a challenge. It becomes even more challenging when you are having to interact within an entirely different environment and study in a foreign language. Huang, who came halfway across the world to Drury on a tennis scholarship, speaks about her time being in EAP and finding her international family along the way.

Why did you choose to enroll in the Drury EAP program?

I came to Drury on a tennis scholarship but in terms of academics, I knew that my English wasn’t good enough. I wanted to make sure that I will be able to succeed in the classroom. Through this program, I was given an opportunity to improve before I take regular classes.

What’s your favorite memory of EAP?

It’s hard to pick one because there are just so many things that I love about it! I really love the fact that my fellow classmates, mentors, and professors became a big family. I miss being in classes and going to events with them. Till this day, we still stay in touch through a group chat so that’s really good. Everyone just helps and cares about one another. I think this is because we all understand the challenges of studying in a different language. It is pretty cool that each of us may come from different countries but somehow have a common understanding – it is like we have our own language.

What is one piece of advice you would give to incoming EAP students?

Cherish the time you have with EAP because you will gain lot of experiences that you might not have the opportunity to do so outside of the program. Also, take this program seriously because the work that you do within this program will help you understand the American education system a lot better. Last but not least, make an effort to stay in touch with those around you, whether they are your professors or classmates. They are there to help and support you in and outside of the classroom!

Abdulrahman from Qatar

The renowned architecture program was what led Abdulrahman, who is from Qatar, to his decision to attend Drury University. Little did he know he would find his second home within the EAP program. Abdul, which is what he prefers to go by, sat down to reminisce about his favorite moments being a former EAP student and the invaluable skills he has gained.

Why did you choose to enroll in the EAP program here at Drury?

I was looking for a program that will help me improve my English before I take regular classes within Drury’s architecture program.

What is your favorite memory about EAP?

Volunteering for Meals A Million was definitely my favorite memory! It was my first time packing food for needy people around the world and even more so, witnessing so many other students doing their part for a good cause.

How did EAP prepare you?

I think it gave me a glimpse of how the American education system works, especially lectures and the grading system. Improving English is just one of the aspects. Often times, I feel like people overlook other important aspects that are part of the entire college experience. For example, other aspects could range from the simplest of things such as communicating with your professor to more challenging things like making a PowerPoint presentation about a specific topic. Adjusting takes time and it is definitely not something that can be done in one semester. Nonetheless, through EAP, I don’t feel like I am suddenly thrown into a situation where I would feel lost.

What do you miss the most about EAP?

I have to say that I miss attending many of those events with my classmates. I miss being with six other international students who are equally new to the Midwest and are just now discovering a different culture. It can be tough when you lack the means to express your thoughts at times. So, it is comforting to know that there are others who are in the same boat as yourself.

What is one piece of advice you would give to incoming EAP students?

I would say go to the events even when you don’t feel like doing it sometimes because I think it is quite normal to have different interests. At the same time, I believe that going to these events will give you the opportunity to be open about learning a different culture. The professors are really friendly and helpful so don’t be afraid to reach out to them if you need help. I enjoyed being in Intensive English with Charlyn Ingwerson so much that I decided to enroll in her ENGL 200 Literature Matters class the following semester. So, reach out and build connections with your professors – they are there to help and support you to be the best of yourself.

Paul Porcher from France

Leaving your home country to study in an entirely new educational system can be an uphill climb for many folks. Paul Porcher, who calls Saint-Valérien home, did just that. Thankfully, he was able to overcome the challenges of being in a foreign country and learned a thing or two about his community through the Drury’s EAP program. Porcher, who is also on the Drury men’s tennis team, speaks about his experience learning and creating many memories along the way.

What were some of the challenges you faced within the program?

There wasn’t anything in particular that was very challenging. But I’d say that the most challenging thing for me personally was making those PowerPoint presentations and presenting them in front of the class. Public speaking isn’t exactly my cup of tea and it can be a lot more challenging especially with English being my second language. Nonetheless, I would also say that EAP has created an environment in which I felt comfortable making mistakes and learning from them.

What were some of the classes you found to be the most helpful?

I think the most helpful class was the ENG 111 Writing and Research taught by Jennifer Wiley. It helped me develop the habit of keeping a journal. It helped me a lot with my writing. At the end of the day, I really understood the process of clarifying my thoughts and ideas by putting them into words.

Do you have a favorite or funny memory about being in the EAP program?

I have many good memories from being in EAP since every week was filled with fun activities. Meeting all these interesting people, mentors, students, and professors was truly one of the best aspects of the program. I think this is because the group is really small so there is an opportunity to be personable with everyone around you. I cannot choose a particular memory because I have way too many wonderful memories about it.

What do you miss the most about EAP?

I miss going to a lot of the events. Thanks to EAP, we had the opportunity to go to many different places that were really interesting for the most part. It always feel as though we are stepping into a whole new world each time we did something together whether it was visiting a local attraction or volunteering at a non-profit organization. I do miss that feeling and am very appreciative of every experience I have had thus far.

What is one piece of advice you would give to EAP students?

Enjoy it as much as you can, go to all the events (they are free!), don’t be afraid to reach out people, and create friendships with as many people as you can because you will never have this semester again. Things will become a lot different so I would say that they should cherish the opportunity to gradually process the uncertainty that they are facing. It is not a punishment being in EAP; it is an opportunity to understand and enjoy a country you don’t know yet.

Francesco Ferri from Italy

In some countries, playing a sport and getting a college education simultaneously is not an option. And this was true for Francesco Ferri, a midfielder on the Drury men’s soccer team who hails from Mantua, Italy. Ferri, who is an economics major, sat down and opened up about his meaningful experience with EAP.

How did EAP prepare you?

EAP helped me improve my English, especially when it comes to communicating with others. It was nice to be in small classes where professors are always encouraging us to learn and take risks even when we make mistakes.

What is your favorite EAP class?

My favorite class or course would have to be ENG 115 Intensive English that was taught by Charlyn Ingwerson. While the other classes were interesting and helpful, I really enjoyed this one because it gave me the opportunity to talk about any topic. It is kind of a new thing for me to be in an environment where we can share our thoughts and opinions about what is happening in our community. I think that it was especially fun since I had classmates from six different countries.

What is your favorite memory about EAP?

Thanks to EAP, I’ve met my close-knit of friends. I think I found my small Drury family here through this program. For me, it is really important since I am away from home and it is comforting to know that there are people who would understand the challenges of being in a foreign country and not fully understanding the language.

What is one piece of advice you would give to incoming EAP students?

I would say to new and incoming students to take this program seriously because it can really help you improve your English. Often times, I think that it’s easy to underestimate what an intensive semester-long program can do to help you improve.

What do you miss the most about EAP?

I really miss my EAP classmates and going to events with them. I am happy to have made so many memories with them in and outside of the classroom. It can be hard to adjust when you go from having the same classes (and doing everything together) with the same group of people for a semester to taking different classes that are related to our majors.