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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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GUTS program given official ‘go’

After a pilot test run in the spring 2008 semester, the Greater University Tutoring Service has decided to continue their “Give and Take” program, matching international and local students in a symbiotic tutoring relationship.

GUTS made the decision to test the program in the spring in order to provide a way for international students to give back to the campus community while accommodating the needs of local students.

Vivian Kam, the associate director at GUTS, said there are two major aspects to this program.

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The “give” aspect lies in the Academic Matching program. Undergraduate students receive help from international tutors in popular academic subjects such as chemistry, math, economics and biology. GUTS forms groups of up to six students and assigns an international student to facilitate the tutoring process.

Kam said most international students who participate in the program are graduate students or visiting scholars.

Conversational English, the “take” aspect, is the most popular GUTS program, according to Kam. International students meet once a week with local students for “a cultural exchange.”

Undergraduate students help international students adapt to living and being involved on campus by helping them with conversational English, American culture, idioms and other needs that international students may have, Kam said.

Because the process of adapting to the UW campus is very different for international students, local students’ knowledge is valuable and helpful.

The exchange between tutors and tutees is help with academic subjects. Hence, the program is named “Give and Take” because both parties can give something to one another and take something out of this unique partnership.

Kam hopes the cultural exchange process will allow tutors and tutees to make lasting connections and friendships.

Helen Yu, a junior previously involved in the tutoring program conversational English, says it is a nice program to learn about other cultures, specifically about educational systems.

“It is interesting to see what point in life people are at and how they are a product of their own country,” Yu said.

Yu added it is very clear how appreciative everyone is. She said the people she was matched with were much more comfortable speaking English than when they initially met.

“[Give and Take] is a means of adaptation for international students. … They can be involved in campus because they are helping other students, contributing to campus activities and feel like they are making a difference,” Kam says.

Due to the positive feedback GUTS received in the spring, “Give and Take” will continue to run this semester.

“Both participants didn’t expect to get so much out of the program, … they just thought they were trying out something new,” Kam said.

Because of the high demand for tutors and tutees, GUTS encourages American and international students alike to participate in the program.

If you are interested in getting involved with the GUTS program, contact Vivian Kam at [email protected].

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