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World of Difference

By Kelly Davis

In an increasingly interconnected world, UC San Diego’s commitment to education and training knows no boundaries. Last year, Extension’s international programs drew more than 2,000 students from 58 countries around the globe. These students come to Extension to improve their English-language skills, earn academic credit, and learn more about American culture.

“People need global competencies,” said Mary Walshok, UC San Diego’s assistant vice chancellor of public programs and the dean of Extension. “Young people and emerging professionals throughout the world understand that English is the language of commerce, trade, and finance, as well as science and medicine. Students who come to our international programs understand that globalization makes the mastering of English very important, but that it is also important to understand the historical, political, public policy, and cultural dimensions of the United States as well.”

We chatted with three students from three very different parts of the world about what drew them to UC San Diego Extension, what they learned during their time here, and how the experience has changed their lives for the better.


Focus of study: Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) proficiency and Teaching English to Young Learners (TEYL)

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am a university student from Japan. I am interested in English education and Korean culture. That’s why I am majoring in Korean language in Japan, but my future goal is to be an English teacher, so I decided to come here for the TEFL program.

Why did you decide to study at Extension?
The reason why I chose UC San Diego Extension is the instructors. I read somewhere that Extension teachers are experts in this field, and they help students to be prepared teachers. And it turns out to be true.

What have you learned in your classes?
This quarter, I learned the framework for focusing on speaking and listening, and I will learn more in [the] next quarter for sure.

What advice would you give to incoming Extension students?
For incoming students, I would say one thing: you don't have to worry about anything. Whether you have teaching experience or not, the instructors tell you everything and they make you a professional teacher.

How has your experience at Extension changed your life?
I made many friends from various countries, and we [became] close to each other through classes, group works, and parties. Those classmates help me a lot in Extension life, and they are treasures in my life. Before this program, I had no idea about teaching English because I’d never done it before and never learned how to teach. But now I know how to organize a class and how to manage a student-centered classroom with confidence.

How important do you think it is to travel and study abroad?
Studying abroad makes your world widen. I didn't know how it is important before I came here. For me, this was the first time I met people from all over the world. I learned different eating habits, different languages, and met different people. Now I can think things more flexibly because I learned there are various way of thinking.


Focus of study: Communications

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am a 26-year-old journalism student from Norway. Back in Norway, I live in Oslo and study journalism and documentaries at Volda University College, in Volda. Besides that, I work at the broadcasting company TV 2 in Oslo.

Why did you decide to study at Extension?
Both for my work with journalism later in my career and for myself personally, I wanted to improve my English fluency and writing, and Extension offered some really good courses for that.

What have you learned in your classes?
I have become more aware of what I need to practice to improve my English, and I’ve gotten good tools to practice it in my everyday speech. I’ve also gotten to know a lot of other international students from all over the world that I maybe can visit in their country later in life. It was also exciting to see how people from different parts of the world have different struggles with the English language, which was helpful for my own insight of my own English skills. Together we help and learn from each other.

What advice would you give to incoming Extension students?
Take courses that can help you learn a new skill or improve yourself, use the opportunity to get to know as many people as possible, do your homework, and challenge yourself now as long as you have the chance.

How has your experience at Extension changed your life?
I have improved my English skills and gotten good tools to continue working on it every day. I have also learned more about different cultures and gotten to know nice people from countries, like Japan, Egypt, and Turkey, which have very different cultures than Norway.

How important do you think it is to travel and study abroad?
It might be a cliché, but I have learned much more about myself, life and the world we are living in during the few months I have been abroad. You are challenging yourself and getting out of your comfort zone often, which makes you much more independent.


Focus of study: Intensive Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) 10-week program

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am a 19-year-old international business student.

Why did you decide to study at Extension?
UC San Diego Extension had many factors that made me comfortable. My favorite aspect was the quality of the teachers. All my teachers have shown a great understanding of their job and they manage to transmit information to the students successfully.

What have you learned in your classes?
I learned so many new things like new words and expressions, which would have taken me so much more time without my Extension classes. I am able to read English faster and understand it better. I really improved my English skills.

How has your experience at Extension changed your life?
It helped me to reach my goals through the books and the teaching from the professors. The homework was very good practice because you keep reviewing the themes to help improve your English skills.

What are your plans after UC San Diego?
My plans after leaving Extension are to go back to my country to continue my university studies and then coming back here to take business classes next year.

How important do you think it is to travel and study abroad?
Study abroad helps give you a wide view of how to use the language and practice it with your surroundings. The different people and cultures also can help you better understand how things work and help you learn new ways to see and think about things.

Learn more about UC San Diego Extension's International programs on our website, or you can contact the department at ipinfo@ucsd.edu.

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