Charles Fautré, from Belgium, spent a summer not only improving his English at the University of Utah’s English Language Program (ELP), but also experiencing the natural wonders and outdoor adventures to be had in Utah!
Why did you decide to enter a U.S. summer program?
I wanted to develop my [English] language skills while discovering a wonderful country.
How did you choose your summer program?
I was looking for a university located in the U.S. to improve my English. I also wanted to discover the center of the U.S. The University of Utah attracted my attention, because it offered a nice frame and interesting programs. Regarding the program itself, the Explore Utah program had all the features I was looking for. It is a short-term program, which allows the students to discover Utah and to learn English. The international aspect of the program is also an asset.
What did you like best about studying here?
I have had the opportunity to learn some [English] language rules in a nice way during the classes. Then I got to speak English all the time with the friends I made in class.
We did a lot of activities together and that was really fun. We discovered the city, played football and other sports, ate together, and went to Arches National Park. I thus really enjoyed my time at the University of Utah, during classes as well as with my classmates during the afternoons and the weekends.
What did you miss most about home?
I of course missed my friends and my family at some times. But most of time I had too many things to do and to think about it.
What was your biggest surprise about U.S. life and education?
The life in the U.S. is not that different as the one in Belgium. People are maybe just more confident and open-minded, but I think that it is a particularity of Utah.
How did you handle: ... Language differences?
I was at an intermediate level in English, so it was not to hard to converse with English speakers. Moreover, people were really understanding. They made an effort to understand what foreign students were trying to say.
... Adjusting to a different educational system?
The educational system is not the same as in Belgium but it is not too different. It was thus easy to adapt to it.
How did your English improve?
I firmly believe that my English skills, as well as my human skills, have been enhanced during this summer program. The major improvements I made are certainly in my speaking skills. My pronunciation is better; I have gained some confidence.
What were your activities?
Visit University of Utah English Language Institute ...
During the program, my classmates and I went to a baseball game and to an American football game. Such an atmosphere! It was really amazing. We hiked in the mountains, bowled, went to the swimming pool, paddled in kayaks, and swam in the Great Salt Lake during an excursion to Antelope Island. We thus had a lot of fun and collected unforgettable memories.
We also went on more cultural excursions. Among the many things we did, we visited the Museum of Natural History, Salt Lake City, the Utah Hogle Zoo and Arches National Monument.
All I can say is that I didn’t have the time to get bored! I also took advantage of renting a car and visited Monument Valley, Kanab, Lake Powell, the Grand Canyon, and Bryce Canyon.
How easy or difficult is making friends?
Making friends was easier I expected. We organized an activity the first day to get to know each other. And then we organized an activity everyday to spend time together after class. What is amazing is that I still receive news from people I met in Utah!
How relevant was your U.S. summer program to your personal goals and to the needs of your country?
I would like to study my major at a University in London. Speaking English fluently is therefore required. All the experience I have acquired in this field is thus valuable.
In the long run, it will also be useful for the international career I am expecting to gain.