Participants in SUNY Oswego’s Summer Intensive English 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, ILEC Program Manager at SUNY Oswego, saw a group of twenty-three students from the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico travel to Oswego to participate in the language immersion experience.


A Conversation with New Friends! Pictured are Bishop’s Commons residents Howard Manley and Dr. Allan Rosenberg; as they converse with Raúl A. Pérez; Nicole Vargas; Lorraine Caño Ruiz and Alejandra Roque; who were among a group of international students participating in a six-week English language immersion program at SUNY Oswego. Program participants’ visits with residents at Bishop’s Commons to practice their conversational English while getting to know a bit about one another. This was the seventh year students participating in the language immersion program visited Bishop’s Commons.

During the visit, students introduced themselves and together with 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 table. The exercise was fast paced, and everyone enjoyed the experience of getting acquainted and sharing a little information about themselves. Students were also given a tour of the residence. 

“We are fortunate to be able to host the international students in this program,” said Cheryl Cullinan, Director of Activities at Bishop’s Commons who helped organized the exchange. “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 wonderful experience for all involved and we thank SUNY Oswego for letting Bishop’s Commons be a part.”