Drew Theological School’s REACH program provides international students with academic and cultural support


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Drew Theological School’s REACH program provides international students with academic and cultural support

Unique curriculum helps students adapt to the American approach to learning

September 2022 – Drew Theological School welcomed incoming international students on campus and online for a three-week intensive summer English course as part of the school’s program REACH program. The new promotion of 24 international students represents three continents.

The REACH program, led by Katherine Brown, associate professor of language and culture and director of Theological School Language and Learning Center, is a credited academic program that is required for new international masters level students who have not graduated. from a university in the United States

The program is organized by the Theological School’s Language and Learning Center, an academic support service for all international students at the Theological School. “Drew, since its inception, has hosted international students – it’s part of Drew’s heritage,” Brown said.

The program helps students adapt to the American approach to learning, “which is discussion-driven engagement with an emphasis on critical thinking,” Brown said. “The approach to learning for international students varies by country. We work to help them adapt to a very different learning style.

The program goes beyond English language proficiency by seeking to encourage and challenge students to understand their worldview in order to share and thrive as students of the theological school. “It’s important to me that students don’t feel like they have to leave behind who they are, but rather that they understand who they are and know how they can contribute to the conversation politically, personally and religiously to make the world best.” Brown said.

“We have developed the English program to include much more than just speaking English. Students have the opportunity to improve their English, but above all, to improve their delivery. »

Students also participate in shared worship experiences and ministry-related archival research, as well as visits to museums and local churches in the New York and New Jersey metropolitan area.

Through visits to United Methodist Church History and Archives Centerlocated on the Drew campus, students were able to conduct research on the history of Methodism in their country.

“Students explored archival materials — books, pamphlets, manuscripts, material culture — from their home countries,” said Alex Parrish, special collections manager and curator of the Methodist collection at the United Methodist Archives and History Center. .

“Together we learned about Christian communities in Pyongyang before the division of North and South Korea, religion and gender in the Congo, faith-based unity plans in Ghana, and local churches in mainland China in turn of the 20th century. I was encouraged by the students’ enthusiasm and willingness to share personal stories.

In-person and online students were greeted with a chapel service, led by Tanya Linn Bennett, Associate Dean for Vocation and Training and University Chaplain. She reminded new students as they embark on theological education that they “are beloved of God when challenged, discouraged, or thrilled by the discoveries to come.”

The intensive three-week course is followed by an accompanying course during the fall semester.


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