Tuesday, February 7, 2012

My Valdivia TravelogueVI

By Georgia Wyche
Many things have occurred during the month of January at Universidad Austral de Chile. In the beginning of the month, we had several visitors from Virginia Tech.  I’m also continuing to teach English conversation classes, working with applied linguistics students, and led a scientific writing workshop to UACh researchers.

In the beginning of January, John Dooley (Vice President for Outreach and International Affairs), Karen DePauw (Vice President and Dean for Graduate Education) and six Virginia Tech graduate students visited UACh. The purpose of their visit was to learn about campus life and higher education in Chile.  I was happy to meet the group and joined them on several tours and excursions to university laboratories and tourist attractions in and around Valdivia.  Their visit was a worthwhile and enriching experience not only for the group, but also for me. I look forward reconnecting with everyone once I’m back in Blacksburg.

After John Dooley’s visit,  Dr. Bill Huckle (Associate Professor of 
Cell Biology/Pharmacology at Virginia Tech) visited Universidad Austral de Chile.  Dr. Juan Claudio Gutierrez (UACh Veterinary School) kindly hosted Huckle and organized his university visit, specifically to the UACh Veterinary School.  During his visit, Huckle gave several interesting talks to students and faculty members. 
I’m also continuing to teach English conversation classes to UACh journalists. These classes are a lot of fun and are taught in a relaxed environment.  Moreover, I continue to stay busy working with my applied linguistics students. The last few classes with my students have been online. For these classes, I covered assessing listening, speaking, reading and writing in the ESL classroom. My students recently turned in a second paper for the class, so I have plenty of reading and grading to do during the month of February.
Workshop presentation
During the last two weeks of January, I led and taught an intensive scientific writing workshop to members of the Department of Graduate Research. The students learned to write articles and abstracts and gave presentations on their work. Dr. Juan Claudio Gutierrez of UACh provided assistance during the workshop by talking to the students about his experiences in scientific writing in English when he was a graduate student at Virginia Tech.  All in all, this workshop was a great accomplishment and I look forward to it transitioning into a class in the second semester.
Even though the university is closed for summer vacation until the end of February, I plan on keeping busy. I have many papers to correct and lessons to create for the second semester. I also plan on doing some informal English conversation classes at cafes in town for interested students.  I return to work on February 21st to prepare for the arrival of the university deans from Virginia Tech.

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