CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) has been selected by the Embassy of the Sultanate of Oman in Washington D.C. to host a 2023-2024 Foundation Year Program.
This is the first time UIUC is hosting this program in collaboration with the Embassy, and like the KAUST Foundation Year Program, the Oman Foundation Year Program will be designed, developed, and managed by Global Education and Training (GET) and the Intensive English Institute (IEI) in Illinois International.
GET Director Matt Rosenstein said students in the program will attend rigorous courses, including calculus, academic reading and writing, and more—all while receiving extensive support and resources from UIUC, GET, and IEI to help achieve their goals.
“At the end of the foundation year, the 26 Omani students studying at Illinois will have built a solid foundation for their continuation of undergraduate studies at a U.S. university,” Rosenstein said. “The curriculum is designed to prepare the students for managing their time while completing college-level academic writing and testing requirements to ensure successful experiences at top universities in the United States.”
The foundation year program will be divided up into two semesters, and each semester will concentrate on specific curriculums.
The fall curriculum is dedicated to preparing for the college applications, test prep, and essays, ultimately having each student receiving admissions at top target schools.
According to the proposal GET submitted for the program, the fall portion of the program will:
- Assist students in preparing high-quality college applications (essays, short answers, etc.), through a combination of coursework and essay workshops.
- Enhance students’ university-level English proficiency, with emphasis on reading comprehension, writing, note-taking, presentation, and communication skills.
- Prepare students to achieve superior performance scores in IELTS and SAT Reasoning examinations.
- Create a collaborative environment to provide personalized guidance to the students throughout their university application process.
The spring curriculum transitions into preparing students for college/academic life and developing a global mindset.
The spring portion of the program will:
- Provide classroom and co-curricular experiences to prepare students for success in the U.S. undergraduate system, focusing on advanced college-level academic preparation, cultural/academic understanding, and critical thinking skills.
- Foster development of leadership, organizational, study, and time management skills designed to enable a nuanced understanding of the American university system and its learning/teaching methods, while developing a high comfort level in navigating a typical university system and using on-campus resources.
- Support students by means of mentorship, academic programming, and community involvement, providing them with the tools and strategies to address setbacks and challenges academically, culturally, and socially, thereby leading to increased student independence and resiliency.
The Foundation Year at Illinois also offers a comprehensive approach to professional development, allowing students to critically examine their learning and explore how their academic skills and knowledge can impact Oman and the globe beyond their U.S. academic studies, according to the proposal.
The program started in early September with an online pre-program for the Omani students, and the official start of the on-campus fall semester was at the end of October.
“We are honored to be selected as one of the 2023-2024 host institutions by the Embassy of Oman,” Rosenstein said. “We look forward to engaging the students in an impactful and meaningful way through the program and seeing them develop the skills and aptitudes to succeed during the foundation year, into their U.S undergraduate university studies and beyond.”
Anna Kasten, the program manager for the foundation year, said she’s excited to build on the experience gained over the last few years from hosting the KAUST foundation year program, but is even more excited to use that plethora of knowledge to make this new initiative exceptional.
“It’s my first time working with Omani students and first impressions have been wonderful,” Kasten said.
Asma Yahya, a graduate student pursuing a PHD in nutritional science, is the grad assistant helping with the program this year. She said she’s happy and excited for the new opportunity.
“Right now, we’re getting to know the students… and I love doing this work,” she said.
Rosenstein said ultimately, they are confident that the program will be successful for the students’ academic careers plus it will help propel their professional development as future leaders and innovators in Oman.
“We look forward to working with the Embassy of Oman and Omani students in the year ahead,” he said.
GET provides a gateway to expertise at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign through customized high-quality training programs.
Through GET programs, professionals and students gain access to transformative learning experiences that build the necessary skills to be leaders in diverse, international contexts.
GET partners with expert faculty, leading businesses, and multinational corporations to offer these programs, ensuring that participants have access to latest, cutting-edge knowledge. Learn more about GET: https://get.illinois.edu/.
Analicia Haynes is the storyteller and social media specialist for Illinois International. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.