During three action-packed weeks at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, precollege students from Taiwan and China expanded their horizons in the American Culture and English Program. They improved their English, made new friends, and learned all about American college life.

Science project. (Photo by Sharon Vanorny) Above: A visit to Devil’s Lake State Park.

To their great surprise, they also danced.

“The program’s most amazing experience was the dance party,” said Xuan-Zhe Chen (Colin) at a farewell ceremony in the Carson Gulley Center. “It was the first time I’d ever done an activity like that, and I was nervous. But I had such a good time.”

The dance party was one of many opportunities for the teenagers to challenge themselves and grow. They took English classes and tested their new skills in conversations with friendly Midwesterners. They did science experiments, made presentations, and climbed the dramatic bluffs at Devil’s Lake State Park.

Most impressive of all, they quickly bonded with each other, creating friendships that will last a lifetime.

Dance party.

“We came to a new environment alone and made friends,” said Huei-Hsuan Lu (Barbara) at the farewell ceremony. “My friends were always by my side, and we overcame the difficulties together.”

‘The perfect place to experience college life in America’

The American Culture and English Program is designed for international high school students who want to take classes at a top-ranked university while having a good time in one of the United States’ most beautiful cities. Students in the 2017 program enjoyed Madison’s safe streets and lovely lakes. They played sports, sampled delicious food, toured campus, and visited unique local attractions, including the majestic state Capitol. They also took daytrips to both urban and natural areas, along with a legendary amusement park in the Wisconsin Dells.

Madison Mallards baseball game. (Photo by David Giroux)

Over lunch at the farewell ceremony, students watched a slideshow documenting their extraordinary three weeks. They received certificates and parting gifts, applauded their instructors and counselors, and marveled over how much they’d done.

“The American Culture and English Program is the perfect place to experience college life in America,” said Lu. “The program awakened my passion to study in the United States.”

Making the world a better place

Campus activity. (Photo by David Giroux)

The students weren’t the only ones who benefited from the American Culture and English Program. Jeffrey S. Russell, the dean of Continuing Studies, acknowledged the value of hosting them at UW-Madison.

“Thank you for coming to enrich our campus,” Russell said during the ceremony. “There’s nothing more exciting for me than to be around young people with intelligence and energy who are going to make the world a better place.”

For more information about the American Culture and English Program, contact Christine Inthachith, christine.inthachith@wisc.edu, 608-265-5720. See below for more photos of the 2017 program.