EAP Students Engage with their Community
October 20, 2014
Engaging with the community is an ideal that many students pursue, and for students who are studying English as an additional language, this ideal is both a cultural experience and a learning opportunity. The English for Academic Purposes (EAP) department has integrated Community Engagement (CE) into the course curriculum, and this addition has been very successful. The purpose of CE is to encourage all our students to participate in events outside of the classroom, to interact with native English speakers, and to learn about their community. These events may include lectures, festivals, and volunteer work.
At the end of each semester, students who have elected to do volunteer work are asked to fill out a report form. It is clear from their comments that doing volunteer work has benefitted them in many ways: "Volunteering is very rewarding...it helped me to meet new people and practice my English." Another student wrote: "The most important [thing] I have learned from my volunteer job is the sense of responsibility. Besides, it is a good way to communicate with people and make friends."
Whether they worked with youths or seniors, our students realize that in their own way, they have made a difference in the lives of other people. One student who volunteered with a youth group commented, "It helped youth to be aware of the issues in their community. It also helped them prevent and protect other people in these issues."
Perhaps the most apt description of the value of CE was summarized by this student: "I feel that volunteer work helps other people. In my opinion, [the] more people work helping in organizations such as Food Bank Society or geriatrics or with children, [the] more people will benefit directly or indirectly."
Indeed, CE is about contributing, growing, learning, participating. It is about Community. It is about Engagement.
Community Engagement webpage