USC officials say a course designed to ramp up foreign students' English language is in high demand. The summer course is in its first week.
USC boasts the largest international student enrollment of any American university. Those whose first language isn't English have studied the language for years, yet many enter university with some deficiencies.
Director Kate O’Connor says the summer intensive English program tries to cover any big or small learning gaps. "For example, we had a Saudi student who did not understand the verb 'to be.' And as you can image, that’s pretty central to our entire language. It doesn’t exist as we think of that, as a helping verb, as a main verb, apparently, in Arabic," she said.
Nearly all of the 200 students in the summer session will enroll at USC or another American university in the fall. By then they will have learned quite a bit about American culture and capitalism, L.A. style. "They go shopping at the Grove, we go bowling with them, they go to a beach trip, so we try to mix it up with them, some sports, a Dodger game," she said.
There’s a community service element too. The foreign students will share information about their languages and cultures with students at nearby Manual Arts High School.