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STLCC’s CCELI Students Travel to Missouri State Capital

March 09, 2009

CCELI Students  
CCELI Students at Capitol Building in Jefferson City.

On Tues., Feb. 24, Community College English Language Institute (CCELI) students from the Florissant Valley, Forest Park, and Meramec campuses visited the Capitol building in Jefferson City. The CCELI students originate from the southeast Asian countries of Burma (Myanmar), Malaysia, Mongolia, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos.

The students traveled to the state capitol to learn firsthand about the U.S. democratic process and receive a better understanding of the state and federal political procedures. While in Jefferson City, the students were introduced in the House and Senate chambers by local representatives and had their photos taken.
"They really began to grasp that each state has its own government and capitol city, and that it is not necessarily the largest city in the state," said Joyce Neikirk, cultural assistant for the Florissant Valley program.

Marshall Xu, a Burmese native, commented via e-mail to Neikirk, that the recent expedition made him want to travel to Washington D.C. even more to see the "big capitol".

"Jefferson City was such a great trip because it has driven home much of what has been taught in the classroom and their cultural events," said Neikirk.
Since January, the University of Missouri at St. Louis’ CCELI grant program has allowed three STLCC campuses to host 20 students each. CCELI students participate in an eight-week program to improve their English writing and speaking skills. Following the completion of the program the students will return to their home countries, where they will continue interaction with their hosting institution, while completing their on-line studies.

The CCELI grant was one of only five awarded in the country, and the only one awarded to a community college/university consortium.

“The ultimate goal of CCELI is to prepare these students for eligibility for other study opportunities in the United States,” stated Neikirk.