Monday, August 29, 2011

Foreign Language Conversation Courses Offered for Faculty and Staff

The Virginia Tech Language and Culture Institute (VTLCI) is pleased to announce foreign language conversation courses for Virginia Tech faculty and staff for the fall 2011 term. These courses provide instruction and practice at beginning to intermediate levels in the following Languages: Chinese (Mandarin), French, Italian, Spanish and German.

Classes will be held at VTLCI, and will begin Tuesday, August 30th. Classes are open to current Virginia Tech faculty and staff. Participation is free of charge, though course books must be purchased separately at the campus bookstore.

Participants may register by contacting the course instructor through information provided at

Foreign language conversation courses for faculty and staff are organized in cooperation with the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, and are made possible through the generous support of the offices of the Vice President of Outreach and International Affairs and the Vice President for Research.

Questions concerning these courses and other VTLCI offerings may be directed to Amanda Johnson, Assistant Director for Special Programs, at 1-9348.

VTLCI Instructor Wyche Joins Chilean Partner University

Daniel Alomar, Professor of Agronomy; Dr German Reinhardt, Executive Director; Loreto Quintana, Executive Assistant; Georgia Wyche, VTLCI Instructor; Sandor Muslow, Professor of Science; Claudio Guitierrez, Professor of Veterinary Medicine

Georgia Wyche, English language instructor at the VTLCI, joined Universidad Austral de Chile (UACh) in Valdivia, Chile on August 19. She is working at the university to help support English language teaching and learning capacity for students and professors in cooperation with the VTLCI. She is also providing instructional support to the School of English Language Pedagogy, where she is involved in language teacher training. Wyche will be with UACh for nine months and plans to return to the VTLCI in June of 2012.

Monday, August 22, 2011

VTLCI Recognizes New Hokies

VTLCI congratulates thirty-two VTLCI Intensive English students offered admission to undergraduate studies at Virginia Tech for this coming spring and fall semesters. Let's go HOKIES!

Yu Bai
Naiqi Cao
Yu Chu
Yifan Gu
Ziyun Guo
Xueyan Han
Bangxin Lan
Jingyi Liu

Yuanyanyan Liu
Kai Lu
Weihan Luo
Yueran Meng
Jiaheng Song
Ruizhe Song
Yongyan Sun
Wei Tang

Muzi Ti
Sahowei Wan
Chuo Wu
Dexuan Xu
Rui Xu
Zhechong Xu
Wentao Yang
Jialun Yu

Fanmin Zhai
Baosheng Zhang
Shaoshan Zhang
Xiao "Sean" Zhang
Yu Zhang
Mingrui Zhao
Yuan Zhou
Zhanni Zhou

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Blacksburg Homestay Featured in Roanoke Times

Blacksburg Homestay proprietor Mary Ann Poole is featured in the Sunday, August 21st New River Valley edition of the Roanoke Times. Click here to view the story. A great friend to the Institute, Mary Ann arranges host families for many VTLCI Intensive English students each session. The article, entitled "Home away from home", was written by Mary Hardbarger.

More information on Blacksburg Homestay is available on their website at

Friday, August 19, 2011

VTLCI Partners with College of Science for KAUST Preparatory Year

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), a state-of-the-art post-graduate research university located on the Red Sea of Saudi Arabia, established the KAUST Gifted Student Program (KGSP) in the summer of 2008. The program has the goal of creating a pool of highly qualified Saudi graduates to enroll in KAUST’s graduate degree programs. Students in the program are selected from the top five percent of Saudi secondary school graduates (science track) who have participated in the country’s Gifted Student Program, known as ‘Mawhiba’ in Arabic.

The KGSP Preparatory Year will ready students for undergraduate study at American universities. Taking place over the 2011-2012 academic year, the program has been designed jointly by the Virginia Tech College of Science (COS) and the Language and Culture Institute (VTLCI). For their part in the program, COS will provide introductory courses in math and the sciences, as well as SAT preparation. VTLCI faculty and staff will guide students through the process of university selection, college application completion, and TOEFL test preparation. Participating students will take courses in academic writing and scientific and technical writing through the VTLCI, as well.

The KGSP has successfully placed students in degree programs at MIT, Harvard, Stanford, Johns Hopkins, and other world-leading universities. KAUST approached Virginia Tech to host the preparatory year seeking the highest level of program in terms of faculty, curriculum, facilities and reputation. Fifteen KAUST students are expected to participate in the Virginia Tech program, to arrive in early September.

Inquiries concerning the KGSP Preparatory Year should be directed to Amanda Johnson, Assistant Director for Special programs, at

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Humphrey Fellows: Thanks for the Memories

The Humphrey Fellows Long-term English Training Program has drawn to a close. The Institute wishes to thank all of those who contributed to the program this year, as well as our fine staff led by Program Director Robert "Bert" Wilson. The Fellows share what their experience meant to them in a very special video created by participant Vugar Salamli.

Humphrey Fellows describe benefits of their program

Friday, August 12, 2011

VBI Launches Global Summer Research Institute

Download flier

The Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (VBI), in close cooperation with the Virginia Tech Language and Culture Institute (VTLCI), has launched the Global Summer Research Institute (GSRI). To take place May 29th through August 4th, 2012, GSRI will provide international interns the opportunity to engage in scientific research at a world-class university, assisting those without this experience to build their credentials for graduate study.

Reinhard Laubenbacher, Director Education and Outreach at VBI, states, "Education initiatives at VBI are designed to identify and groom our next generation of scientists. We are excited to offer the Global Summer Research Institute, which combines integrated interdisciplinary research team activities with workshops on leadership, presentation skills, team-building, and writing skills."

During their time at VBI, interns will work closely with an interdisciplinary team on a research project. They will receive guidance in developing graduate applications, giving talks on their projects, and writing scientific reports and papers. At the close of the institute, successful participants will receive a certificate of completion and a letter of recommendation from a sponsoring professor.

The VTLCI will assist VBI in promoting the program through its international contacts and university partnerships. “We will be actively showcasing the GSRI to some of the most prominent universities in the world, seeking their best undergraduate talent for participation in this unique, highly selective program,” says VTLCI Director, Don Back. “We aim to attract this talent to Virginia Tech later on for their graduate work.”

For more information and to apply, please visit:

About the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute
The Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech is a premier bioinformatics, computational biology, and systems biology research facility that uses transdisciplinary approaches to science, combining information technology, biology, and medicine. These approaches are used to interpret and apply vast amounts of biological data generated from basic research to some of today’s key challenges in the biomedical, environmental, and agricultural sciences. With more than 240 highly trained multidisciplinary, international personnel, research at the institute involves collaboration in diverse disciplines such as mathematics, computer science, biology, plant pathology, biochemistry, systems biology, statistics, economics, synthetic biology, and medicine. The large amounts of data generated by this approach are analyzed and interpreted to create new knowledge that is disseminated to the world’s scientific, governmental, and wider communities.

About the Virginia Tech Language and Culture Institute
Part of the Office of Outreach and International Affairs, the Virginia Tech Language and Culture Institute (VTLCI) supports the university’s engagement mission by leveraging international partnerships and programming to attract the best and brightest students and professionals from around the globe. Through its efforts, the VTLCI exposes domestic students to other cultures, values and languages, enriching discovery and learning and contributing to the diversity of the university community. VTLCI has locations in Blacksburg at the main Virginia Tech campus and in the National Capital Region at the university’s Northern Virginia Center. The institute hosts over 500 students per year from over 30 countries spanning the globe, served by over 50 professional faculty, instructors and staff.

Tiffany Trent

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Falls Church VTLCI Students Publish On-line Paper

"We have a planetary emergency. Addressing this challenge needs to become our mission."  This noble challenge comes from VTLCI American Media student Amira Kefi in a commentary on global warming.  Mohamed Khaled Mohamed Nafadi informs that the word Ramadan "is derived originally from the Arabic word 'Al-Ramadi' which means intense heat and thirst."  The word also refers to the ninth month of the Islamic calendar.  Ibrahim Yahaya Ibrahim recounts the history of the Fulbright international exchange program, which was ironically funded by proceeds from the sale of surplus war property after World War II.  And where could you find such an interesting diversity of stories and views but in VTLCI classes?

Congratulations go out to Falls Church VTLCI students and instructor, Michele Clark, for their on-line student newspaper, "The VTLCI Student Times."  Published August 9, 2011, this first edition of the Times was designed, developed and written by the American Media class. The paper contains articles on Ramadan, cultural diversity, local politics and the VTLCI.  And what better way to gain insight than to actively explore?  "A Different Side of Virginia," for example, was written by a young Saudi woman, Ghadah Alanzy, who learned more about democracy by attending a fund-raising dinner for a local politician.  More than improving their English, Ghadah and these other burgeoning journalists are undergoing a transformational experience at Virginia Tech through their immersion in American life and culture.

The VTLCI Student Times may be accessed at  Authors are looking for feedback, and so readers are encouraged to comment on the site. 

Video: Virginia Tech Humphrey Fellows Celebrate Leadership Studies and Language Skills

Eddy Bongwele Is Akaala of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is grateful for his new English language facility.

BLACKSBURG, Va., Aug. 9, 2011 – Eddy Bongwele Is Akaala of the Democratic Republic of the Congo says, "I have learned in the United States that we can build our world together and make our society very good for us and for future generations." He, like other Humphrey Fellows studying at the Virginia Tech Language and Culture Institute, appreciates the opportunity to study leadership and improve his English-language skills.

Virginia Tech’s Outreach and International Affairs supports the university’s engagement mission by creating community partnerships and economic development projects, offering professional development programs and technical assistance, and building collaborations to enrich discovery and learning – all with the overarching goal of improving the quality of life for people within the commonwealth and throughout the world. Outreach and International Affairs leads Virginia Tech’s presence on five continents; its regional research and development centers across the commonwealth focus on graduate education and professional development. Blacksburg-based centers are dedicated to student engagement, language, policy, and governance.