University of Pikeville to ease transition for foreigners

PIKEVILLE — The University of Pikeville is again expanding.

The school in far Eastern Kentucky is working on adding a global education program and an Intensive English Institute.

The Intensive English Institute will "help support the students that want to study at UPike but their English isn't at level yet," said Sandy Kroh, director of global education.

Kroh told the Appalachian News-Express that the university is drafting the framework for the program, which has to get approval from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, which bestows accreditation to UPike.

She said the program as envisioned would include three areas: the Intensive English Institute that would focus on teaching international students to speak better English, international student services that would help them with tasks such as getting a driver's license, and a third that would encourage students — American or international — to study abroad.

She said the school hopes to begin the program early next year. She expects 10 to 15 international students to sign up for the program initially, but eventually the university plans to have between 40 and 45 international students in the program.

"The plan is to begin it in January and we'll have three levels," she said. "There's a beginning, intermediate and advance level and then you have five skills, which will be a listening class, speaking, grammar, reading and writing and it's academic English."

International student Sven Rodenbusch from Simmern, Germany, said there's a need for the services.

"For example, I thought if I could, I could work off campus so if I would just go and do that I'm actually risking my visa and without a visa I can't go anymore," Rodenbusch said. "So it's like important things that we're getting help with."

In addition, Rodenbusch said sometimes international students get placed in higher-level classes, but they aren't prepared for them. For instance, he said a classmate was placed in a higher-level English class in which he's expected to write research papers.

School officials say the new program will allow UPike to make sure international students are placed in appropriate classes.