Campbellsville University ESL students graduate from program

Campbellsville University ESL students graduate from program

July 15, 2013

For Immediate Release


Bejing University of Agriculture English as a Second Language students were honored at a ceremony at Campbellsville University. From left are: Front row – Dongmei Wang, Yijing Shi, Mengchen Xu, Yixin Wang and Chenyang Liu. Back row – Chris Sanders, assistant dean of international education; Yuanqing Cao, Lihe Huang, Maryann Matheny, English as a Second Language endorsement specialist; Andrea Giordano, assistant director of ESL and instructor in ESL; and Chenge Shi. All the students are from China. (Campbellsville University Photo by Drew Tucker)

By Drew Tucker, communications assistant

For a group of Campbellsville University Chinese students studying in the English as a Second Language Program (ESL), July 1 was a very special day: they got to graduate, and they were going home.

Before the event, the students were busy taking pictures with their friends. Many stories and jokes were shared, which always resulted in laughter. They wanted to remember this day.

“They’re heading back to China at 3 a.m. tonight,” Edwina Rowell, secretary for ESL, said.

“The first time I saw you,” Chris Sanders, assistant dean of international education, said, “you all were so excited to come to America. During this four-week summer exchange program, I hope you all have improved your English.”

Not only did they improve their English, they also got to see the great plains of Kentucky.

“The first time you all saw hills,” said Elaine Tan, international activities assistant, “someone said, ‘Whoa! This looks like Lord of the Rings!’”

Various trips were taken to Kentucky landmarks: Stephen Foster’s My Old Kentucky Home in Bardstown, Ky.; Cumberland Falls in Corbin, Ky.; Abraham Lincoln’s Birthplace in Hodgenville, Ky.; Green River Lake in Campbellsville, Ky.; and Mammoth Cave in Cave City, Ky., which was “very cold,” the students said.

“We’ve had a lot of fun times,” Tan said. “Yesterday, we grilled out at Ann Wells’ house, and we burned everything with the fire!” Wells is secretary for international education at CU.

They also experienced classic American cinema, from “Gone With the Wind” to “Man of Steel.” at a drive-in theater. Afterward they would share stories of classic Chinese cinema.

“You’ve taught me so much about culture,” Tan said. “With this exchange in culture, you learned from us, and us from you.”

Andrea Giordano, assistant director and instructor of ESL, asked what English would give them, saying, “A better job and worldwide conversations; it gives you a voice. What you’ve given us is perspective on country; struggles of country.”

The students come from Beijing, China. Air pollution is rampant there, and there seems to be no end in sight. Some days no one is allowed to leave their buildings due to the air pollution. The students want to change all that, and learning English was a very important step toward that goal, they said.

“Thanks for changing with us and us with you,” Giordano said. “The hope of China is in really good hands.”

For more information about ESL, contact Giordano at (270) 789-5084 or
Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with more than 3,600 students offering 63 undergraduate options, 17 master’s degrees, five postgraduate areas and eight pre-professional programs. The website for complete information is

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