June 9, 2020
Studying in a total English environment is one of the most attractive benefits of an RIT Croatia education, but it can also be a challenge, especially for the majority of our students who have never experienced an all-English environment before. Even though all of them have had English courses in school since first grade, at RIT Croatia they experience something very different. All English, all the time. We really mean it! Of course, students can freely use their native languages during breaks and social times, but class time, assignments, conversation with faculty and staff, college events and written materials really are all in English. That’s why RIT Croatia offers plenty of help and support to help students meet this challenge.
Faculty member Rebecca Charry Roje has been teaching English at the Dubrovnik campus for over 18 years and has helped many students make the transition to an all-English environment.
"Many students begin our program hesitant and unsure of their English. They are reluctant to participate in class because they are afraid of making an English mistake,” she said. "But this fear usually disappears after the first semester. They realize it is fine, and even normal, to make some mistakes. That’s part of the learning process.”
Sometimes students are surprised to discover how much more difficult writing is than speaking. Just because they understand spoken English easily, doesn’t mean they feel comfortable speaking. And of course, writing a clear, effective sentence, paragraph, or paper is much more demanding than just carrying on a casual conversation. So, in addition to the supportive atmosphere, all students take a specialized English course in each of their four years of study. In addition, RIT Croatia offers specialized instruction for first-year students who need extra time and practice to feel comfortable studying, and especially writing, in English.
Introduction to Academic English is an intensive, course offered in the first semester in a small group setting, focusing on building vocabulary, reviewing basic grammar, and generally helping students feel comfortable actively using English in their daily studies.
"This course is an important step in helping students make the transition to an all-English environment,” said Faculty member Zrinka Friganovic Sain, who teaches the course in Dubrovnik. "It creates a solid foundation and gives them confidence at the beginning of their college experience.”
In addition, all students can get individual help with any writing assignment at the Writing Lab, through one-on-one coaching with a faculty. The focus of Writing Lab is to help students recognize, understand, and correct their own mistakes. Students who visit Writing Lab for individual help on a regular basis are amazed to see how much their writing improves. Even students who feel confident in their skills should think of their English experience at RIT Croatia like a sports training.
No matter what level of skill you have, the only way to improve is with steady, regular practice and a good coach.
"With dedication, hard work, and the right guidance, our students learn to think naturally in English,” said Ms. Charry. "They don’t have to translate each word, or worry about what they are going to say or write next, and they really feel at home with English as a natural part of their lives. The transformation is just amazing.”
TIP: The easiest way to improve your English
Read, read, read! Just read something interesting in English for 15 minutes a day. It can be a magazine article, blog or website about your favorite sports team, news, fashion, politics – anything that truly interests you. All that good English goes into your mind in a natural way and builds up a solid foundation.
With the start of the new academic year higher education institutions are facing unique challenges that stand to swiftly, thoroughly, and permanently reshape them. When academic year starts with key messages focused around safety of students and faculty, it is clear even to a common observer that students and faculty alike are embarking on a journey like none before.
Quality and excellence have always been embedded in RIT Croatia's DNA. As a global campus of RIT, we are committed to deliver exceptional studying and learning experiences for our students, we well as working experience for our employees.
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In addition to RIT Croatia Freshmen Orientation that took place last week, School of Information from RIT's Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences held an online Global Orientation for its Web and Mobile Computing students in Dubrovnik and Zagreb, Croatia, and Dubai, UAE on Monday, August 31.