TROY - For nine Chilean professionals, a month at Troy University was about learning English and seeing the United States for the first time.
The group, organized by Chile's Sociedad Nacional de Agricultura for the participants who were studying English online in the South American nation, spent most of July on the Troy Campus in a first-of-its-kind program conducted by the English and a Second Language Program.
"SNA was looking for a program to augment their student's English studies, and the U.S. State Department asked us if we would provide the services," said David Kent, the University's ESL instructor.
After face-to-face meetings with SNA in Chile by University officials, an agreement was reached that culminated the cohort's attendance at TROY.
"We very much look forward to continuing this program with the Chileans, and could possibly expand offerings to twice each year," Kent said.
SNA is an organization of 22 secondary schools throughout Chile. Participants in the ESL program include administrators, teachers and other school staff members.
Ricardo Cardenas, one of the participants, is an engineer who teaches in a secondary school. He said the program helped the participants immerse themselves in the English language.
"We really liked everything about being here. The campus is quite beautiful and we learned a lot of history of Troy and Alabama, but for all of us, this was our first time in the United States. We learned a lot because our teachers were very patient," he said.
In addition to 20 hours of intensive English instruction each week, the cohort had the opportunity to visit Huntsville's Space and Rocket Center, TROY's Rosa Parks Museum in Montgomery, Atlanta, and Disney World.
Troy University Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins Jr., visits with participants of an English as a Second Language at a farewell luncheon. The students, all Chilean secondary school teachers, administrators or staff, spent a month in an intensive English language class on the Troy Campus. (TROY photo/Cass Davis)