Western Kentucky University

Office of International Programs

100 International Students Experience U.S. Culture with Kings Island Trip

WKU International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) and English as a Second Language International (ESLI) partnered to host approximately 100 international students with a July 6 trip to Kings Island just north of Cincinnati, an overnight stay in Florence, Ky., then topped the trip off with a couple of hours of shopping at the Oxmoor Mall in Louisville.

International students show their excitement as they arrived at Kings Island on July 6. Students in the ISSS and ESLI programs at WKU look forward to the trip each year. “Trips like this are important because it provides the students with entertainment and gives them a greater understanding of U.S. culture,” said Tarek Elshayeb, Director of International Student and Scholar Services at WKU.

“The trip to Kings Island and Cincinnati is something our students look forward to every year,” said Dawn M. Winters, ESLI Academic Director. “We believe that in order for international students to fully learn a language, they must leave the four walls of a classroom to experience English and what America has to offer. Kings Island is a great opportunity for students to participate in the language, take a break from summer classes, and see another part of the country.”

Tarek Elshayeb, Director of WKU ISSS, agreed. “Education is not only about obtaining a diploma,” he said. “ESLI and ISSS have a long-standing partnership that benefits both organizations. Trips like this are important because it provides the students with entertainment and gives them a greater understanding of U.S. culture. We want the students to have a positive experience at WKU, this is important for both retention and recruitment.”

Early Friday morning (July 6), WKU international students and ESLI students arrived in front of Downing University Center to fill two chartered buses bound for Kings Island. As the buses rolled down the interstate, laughter, singing and a myriad of languages filled the air. The students represented countries from around the world, including Bangladesh, China, India, Japan, Kenya, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam.

Students enjoyed the day of fun at Kings Island, the largest amusement and water park in the Midwest. Most stayed until the park closed and witnessed Kings Island’s end of the day fireworks display.

“The best thing about the trip was the roller coaster park and the water park. We enjoyed them both,” said Dhaval Shah of Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India.

About 100 international students visited Kings Island on July 6. “The roller coaster was scary but thrilling,” according to Ninosie Azu of Port-Harcourt City, Nigeria.

“It was awesome, a lifetime experience,” said Ninosie Azu of Port-Harcourt City, Nigeria. “Soak City was so enjoyable; the roller coaster was scary but thrilling.”

The group stayed overnight at a hotel in Florence then boarded the buses Saturday morning to shop at the Oxmoor Mall in Louisville.

“I loved it because it was awesome being on the road,” said Moin Ahmed of Dhaka City, Bangladesh. “It was so exciting, I will remember it throughout my life. Close to the hotel was a pub, which I absolutely fell in love with it.  I loved the music.”

After two hours of shopping, the buses were boarded one last time and bound for WKU.

“It was the best day for me so far in America,” said Mohammad Gusti of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

More: Additional photos from the trip are available on the WKU Facebook page.

Contact: Diana Howard, (270) 745-4857.

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 Last Modified 7/23/13