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Argentine Fulbrights Study English, US Culture at St. John’s

Monday, April 16, 2018

Visiting Fulbright students from Argentina completed six weeks of intensive study at St. John’s University this semester through a special program that included course work in English and their majors, and an immersion in the sites and culture of New York City.

The 20 undergraduates experienced life and learning at the Queens, NY, campus from January 25 to March 7, 2018. The Language Connection (TLC) of St. John’s developed and implemented the curriculum and activities especially for the students, who were all Friends of Fulbright Scholarship recipients. The scholarship program enables Argentine undergraduates to live and learn at a US university in preparation for possible graduate study here.

St. John’s is one of only 15 US institutions selected to participate in the program, said Christina Quartararo, Executive Director of TLC. To be considered, St. John’s joined other universities in submitting proposals outlining curricula, activities, and other benefits for the Argentine students. “When we learned about this, we knew we had an advantage,” said Ms. Quartararo. “TLC has a great deal of experience at designing programs of these types for visiting students from abroad. And, of course, there is our New York location—the city is part of the learning experience.”

Living at the University’s Henley Road Residence, the visiting students attended classes based on their majors in the liberal arts, law, pharmacy, and the sciences. Special workshops strengthened their English-language skills, introduced them to research and graduate school opportunities in the United States, and taught them about résumé writing and job interviews.

New York City was an integral part of the curriculum. Guided by St. John’s Student Ambassadors, the visiting undergraduates toured cultural and historic sites throughout the city. TLC also held a variety of special events—including a welcome reception, a breakfast, and a farewell lunch—to foster a sense of community among the students, who hailed from a variety of Argentine universities.

According to Ms. Quartararo, this was the first time TLC held a short-term program for undergraduate Fulbrights. “Previously,” she said, “the Fulbright programs we have hosted were for graduate students from abroad. It has given us a very strong background in preparing talented international students for further study in the United States.” Throughout the year, Ms. Quartararo added, TLC manages the intensive English program, as well as a number of special programs.

As they prepared to return to Argentina, the visiting students reflected on their experience at St. John’s. “I wanted to understand how the US educational system differs from that of Argentina,” said Luciana Severini, from the Universidad Nacional de Córdoba. “New York City is a fascinating place to see the American approach in action.”

“Studying at St. John’s has been amazing,” said Lourdes Arena, a student at the Universidad Nacional de Tucumán. “The campus is so diverse compared to what I have experienced in Argentina. And the trips off campus have been amazing.”