Participants in SUNY Oswego’s summer English Immersion Program made a visit to Bishop’s Commons in Oswego for a chance to practice their language skills while enjoying an afternoon of getting to know local seniors.

The program, led by Ebru Altay Damkaci, Coordinator of English as a Second Language (ESL) Programs at SUNY Oswego, saw a group of twenty students from as far as China, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico travel to Oswego to participate in the language immersion experience.

During the visit, students and residents took part in a “round robin” exercise where the students circulated among residents and had to strike up a conversation in five-minute intervals before moving along to visit with the next resident. The exercise was fast paced and everyone enjoyed the experience of getting acquainted. Students were also given a tour of the residence. 


Sharing a Conversation among New Friends! Pictured (left to right) are Bishop’s Commons residents Johanna Van Geet and Mae DeCastro, with Abel Cortes Correa and Milayka Ortiz. Correa and Ortiz are both from Puerto Rico.

“We have been fortunate to host the students in this program for the past few years,” said Cheryl Cullinan, Director of Activities at Bishop’s Commons. “Our residents really enjoy welcoming the students into their home and helping them to practice their language skills. It is remarkable to watch the exchanges and connections formed in a relatively short period of time. Residents really take an interest in learning about other cultures and how students from other parts of the world view current events. This is a great program and we thank SUNY Oswego for involving us.”


Beverly Hargrave and new friend Johanna Grullon. Grullon is from the Dominican Republic.