Cultural Immersion Program Coordinator: Tate Quinones
Practice enhances learning. The purpose of the ELI Cultural Immersion Program is to create opportunities for practice and to make activities fun so that students will want to practice. Student life at the ELI is an experience you’ll never forget! Follow the CIP on Instagram @UFLELI.
Every weekday there will be something to do after your classes are finished. Weekly sports and activities are organized by the Language Assistants. The Language Assistants are your English speaking peers. They meet with students in the evenings to do many different things. The activities change every semester based on the students’ interests. Usually there is basketball, volleyball, racquetball, softball, swimming, soccer, pool, bowling, and movies. All of these activities are fun and will help you practice real-life English.
|Monday Mixer||Reitz Union Game Room||6:30pm-9:30pm||Go bowling, play pool or ping-pong, and hang out with the conversation partners and LAs!|
|Tuesday Soccer||Flavet Field||6:30pm-9:30pm||Play soccer or Frisbee with other students and LAs!|
|Wednesday Volleyball||Lexington Crossing||6:00pm-9:00pm||Play volleyball or basketball! Hang out with your ELI friends!|
|Rotating Thursdays||See Thursday Schedule||6:30pm-9:30pm||Do something different every week including many UF traditions!|
|Cafe Friday||Starbucks on Archer Road||6:30pm-9:30pm||Get a coffee at Starbucks, play games, or eat at a nearby restaurant!|
There is a lot to do in Florida! The weather is beautiful and there are many attractions across the state. Each weekend the Cultural Immersion Program plans a trip for the whole ELI. There are three types of trips: tourist spots, cultural events, and outdoor activities. For example, a trip to a tourist spot could be Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL or Busch Gardens in Tampa, FL. A cultural trip could be to the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral or an arts festival. An outdoor trip could be to go horseback riding or to go canoeing and snorkeling at one of the famous springs in the area. There will usually be one Language Assistant for every five students on a trip. The weekend activities let you learn about places in the US and practice your English while Language Assistants act as tour guides.
|Jan. 18||Spring C Welcome Picnic||Meet your classmates, teachers, and language assistants! Eat free food!|
|Jan. 25||Hoggetowne Medieval Faire||See one of Gainesville's biggest festivals celebrating fantasy and history!
(Ticket purchase necessary)
|Feb. 1||Volunteer Weekend||Help people and animals around the Gainesville community! LAs will pick students up for some events|
|Feb. 8||Busch Gardens||Take a bus to a famous Floridian theme park! Ride rollercoasters and enjoy seeing animals! (Ticket and bus purchase necessary)|
|Feb. 15||Gator Basketball Game||Watch the Florida Gators play basketball in the O'Dome! #GoGators
(Ticket purchase necessary)
|Mar. 7||Spring B Welcome Picnic||Join us in welcoming new Spring B students. Free food.|
|Mar. 14||Volunteer Weekend||Help people and animals around the Gainesville community! LAs will pick students up for some events.|
|Mar. 21||Spring and Garden Festival||Get in the spirit of the spring season and visit Kanapaha Gardens, buy plants, flowers, and food, and enjoy live entertainment!
(Ticket purchase necessary)
|Mar. 28||St. Augustine Beach & Historic City||Take a bus to St. Augustine, the oldest European city in the U.S! Visit the beach and explore the town after.
(Bus purchase necessary)
|Apr. 3||ELI Talent Show||Got talent? Come perform at the ELI talent show by signing, dancing, playing an instrument and more! Come enjoy the show if you don't want to perform.|
|Apr. 18||End of Semester BBQ at Lake Wauberg||Enjoy free food, play volleyball, kayak, and swim at the lake while celebrating the end of semester with your friends!|
Volunteering is very popular in the United States. A lot of people spend time helping other people. For example, they visit the elderly at nursing homes, they take care of children at nurseries, or they may build houses for people who cannot afford to buy one. At the ELI, we help our students volunteer for five reasons:
- To help other people
- To get experience in your professional field
- To learn about US culture
- To meet people from the United States
- To practice speaking English!
After you decide what you want to do, the Language Assistants and the Volunteer Coordinator will help you organize your volunteer time. Each semester we offer a volunteer of the term award to the ELI student who has made the greatest contribution to the Gainesville community through volunteering. One day each semester, the whole ELI gets together to volunteer. Volunteering is an experience you will never forget. Sign up here if you are interested in volunteering!
Conversation Partner Program
The Conversation Partner Program is a popular part of the Volunteer Program. It is a chance for ELI students to meet one on one with an English speaker from the Gainesville community. At the beginning of the semester, ELI students sign up for conversation partners. They are then matched with a volunteer (often a UF student) who is an English speaker. The partners then meet for about an hour a week. They spend at least half of the time speaking in English. Sometimes the partner who speaks English is trying to learn the native language of the ELI student. If they are, the partners will spend about half of the time speaking in that language. The Conversation Partner Program is a great way to get one on one English practice and to become friends with someone from the US. If you would like more information about the Conversation Partner Program, please email us.