New Global Bridge Program Off to Successful Start

3:21 PM, June 25, 2012

AUBURN – This summer 15 international students are taking part in Auburn University's new program offering them the opportunity to earn college credit while simultaneously improving their English abilities. If they are successful, the students will become fully admitted to Auburn in spring 2013.

Dan Raffalovich, director of Auburn's English as a Second Language Program, said, "These are students whose abilities are such that they don't need our Intensive English Program. They won't benefit much from it. What we want to do is provide a program for students who are almost there in meeting the university's initial requirements."

Global Bridge students are offered admission to Auburn provided they reach they reach the academic benchmarks required of them in the summer and fall semesters. These benchmarks include making a grade of A or B in all 15 hours of summer coursework as well as maintaining a 2.5 grade point average in 12 to 15 hours of coursework in the fall. A high school GPA of at least 2.5 is required to enter the program.

During the first summer mini semester, students take three specialized English courses.

"Right now we are taught three subjects," explained Global Bridge student James Al Mahamed, of Najran, Saudi Arabia. "The first one is oral presentation, which is how we can present a subject between five and 10 minutes. The second one is reading, where we learn how to read quickly and for comprehension. Right now we are reading 'The Hunger Games.' The last one is for academic writing."

Al Mahamed said the amount of information Global Bridge students are being taught can be daunting, but so far he has been able to keep up and perform well.

With the first half of the summer completed, students have shown significant improvement in their Test of English as a Foreign Language scores. On average, students improved their initial scores by 20 points, and several students showed striking improvements of 36, 40 and 50 points.

Students choose two of a variety of class options in the second mini semester, but all of the options can be counted as credit for any undergraduate degree at Auburn.

Global Bridge student Maan Osaylan, from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, already has his two classes picked out.

"I picked microeconomics because I love subjects like math, physics and economics. I think it will help me with my major," Osaylan said. "From the second group, I took communication because my friends and family always told me, 'You're a good speaker. You can do public speaking very well,' so this is what I'm doing."

Students are then able to develop their own academic schedule in the fall.

So far students have accepted the challenge of the academically rigorous program and performed well, Raffalovich noted.

Osaylan says the program is allowing him to take a large step forward in reaching his goal of becoming a pilot. He plans to major in aviation management.

"Since I was 12 years old, I wanted to be like my grandfather and be a pilot," Osaylan said. "I'm going through my dream right now. So this is like achieving my dream. It's a good achievement for me."

Last Updated: June 25, 2012