Welcome Students and Friends of the ELA!

Students from the ELA along with teachers and friends enjoyed an interactive scavenger hunt at the Whitewater City Market by the lakefront on Tuesday, September 17.

This semester our English Language Academy is thrilled to welcome students from Japan, China, and France. Our students seem to be doing very well adjusting to their new home here at the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater. We have kept them very busy as they have taken part in the Student Involvement Fair and the Global Experiences Fair. They have also ventured out to meet with the Chamber of Commerce and visit our Whitewater City Market on the lake for a Scavenger Hunt. Students enjoyed mingling with the area merchants, trying new foods, and listening to live music at the market. We have more adventures coming up next week. Please check us out on Instagram and Facebook.

As always, we appreciate the warm welcome our students have received from both our Whitewater campus and local community.

English 163 Students Visit Local Businesses

By: Donfak Dongo, Diana Mora and Gary

The entrance to The Black Sheep restaurant.

In the English language, “black sheep” is an idiom used to describe a person that goes against the norms.

English 163 class visited the local restaurant Black Sheep – which is a small non-franchised restaurant – to learn about business practices in the United States. The founder of Black Sheep, Tyler Sailsbery, is a former student of UWW. He also has one more restaurant in Whitewater, Casual Joe’s.  Current university students are employed at both restaurants.

Tyler gave us a tour around the restaurants and a detailed explanation on how he started the business and what he valued about it. We also had the opportunity to taste some of the food made at Casual Joe’s. It was delicious!

Casual Joe’s has an open view concept where customers can see how their food is prepped.

We learned that it takes determination and creativity to start a business. For example, at Casual Joe’s the owner used inexpensive materials such as the chairs and tables that he purchased cheaply from UWW. He also did not get discouraged by the hardships of starting a business and did what he had to do to succeed. We learned that one can start a business with a small budget and keep improving as one grows.

The visit helped us see that owning a business necessitates a lot of hard work and management. Also, a restaurant should have something different from other competitors, but not too new or formal, because casual menus and atmosphere make people want to come back again.

This experience related with our textbook chapter and it helped us see different aspects of business in real life. It helped us see and compare business practices here and in our own countries of Mexico and Cameroon, for example.

Here is a video link that showcases the students’ tour experience at The Black Sheep and Casual Joe’s! Credits: Donfak “Bih” Dongo

ELA Visits the Chamber of Commerce

On Wednesday, March 13, UW-Whitewater English Language Academy students visited the Whitewater Chamber of Commerce and talked with the executive director, Marie Koch. Students learned how this organization helps local businesses. They also learned these facts:

  • The town of Whitewater is now an official Ice Age Trail community! This is great news for those who are interested in hiking and learning more about the Ice Age Trail.
  • The University of Wisconsin at Whitewater is also an official Ice Age Trail university. That is even more good news for students who are interested in nature. There will be a big celebration at UW-Whitewater in April to mark the occasion.
  • Two new businesses opened in Whitewater within the last two weeks. One is called The Book Teller and is located in an old bank building. The other is La Piazza Pizzeria, owned by the same folks who run the popular Italian restaurant, Fanatico.

Mingwei from China peruses used books for purchase at The Book Teller.

The Book Teller is located within an old bank. You can still see the safes in the backroom!

  • We also learned that Whitewater’s nickname is “Nature’s Playground.” This is because of all the beautiful nature surrounding Whitewater and all the different ways people can enjoy outdoor activities here. Hiking is very popular in Whitewater.

    The Kettle Moraine State Forest (Southern Unit) is only a 20 minute drive away from Whitewater.

It was a great day for ELA students to learn more about their community, the natural wonders surrounding our town, and talk with people directly involved in building up this community.

Exploring UWW History

This past February,  students in English 163: Introduction to U.S. Culture for International Students class learned about University of Wisconsin – Whitewater history by exploring the permanent exhibit, The Royal Purple, located on the ground floor of the University Center. The Royal Purple is UWW’s official student-run newspaper since 1901. Here, we share one student’s reflections.

Donfak Dongo (“Bih” from Cameroon) reported that she was impressed to read about “the 16 grievances of the Afro-American students [which was] a turning point for the black student committee […] in February 18, 1969.”

The headlining story for the February 1969 issue.

Donfak continued, “Because of the [students’] firm rejection of President Carter’s vague answers to the Afro-American’s demands at a press conference of making the Black student Union culturally relevant, having a seat on the student senate, increasing financial aid and so forth, President Carter was compelled to pay the issue more attention to accommodate their needs.”


Commenting on her UWW history “find,” Donfak reflected: “What I found interesting was the firmness and briefness in which the Afro-American students’ representative addressed the topic to the press. This showed how determined they were to make their voices heard.”

Donfak D. from Cameroon visits The Royal Purple exhibit here in Whitewater, WI.

Sharing Proverbs from Different Cultures

In pronunciation class this week, students shared different proverbs from their countries to practice the final “s” sound in words.

We loved these proverbs so much that we wanted to share them. Here they are:

  • “With time, everything is possible. ” – Baptiste from France says this is a common saying in his country.
  • “Flowers may bloom again, but a person never has the chance to be young again.” – One of Xinyi’s favorite proverbs from China.
  • “A kind saying makes you warm in the cold winter. An evil saying makes you cold in the hot summer.”   – Mingwei from China shared this with us.

Students featured above: Baptiste A. (France), Payton D. (class peer mentor from Illinois), Xinyi Z. (China), and Mingwei X. (China).


Valentine’s Day in the English Language Academy at UW-Whitewater

We enjoy learning about American holidays at the English Language Academy at UW-Whitewater!

Below are some snapshots from our Valentine’s Day lessons in Dr. Huss-Lederman’s writing class, English 162.

In the first picture of English 162 , Andrea Schwartz (Norway) is unwrapping a Valentine’s Day chocolate bar that has a love poem in the wrapper.

Alex Gohan (Indonesia), Shangquian Ye (China), Yifan Zhang (China) and Andrea Schwartz (Norway) are reading interpretations of lyrics from “All of Me” by singer John Legend in the second picture of English 162.


Brianna Deering’s Listening and Speaking class visited our friends at Fairhaven. Here is what Xinyi Zhang from China wrote about their experience:

My classmate and I went to Fairhaven to experience Valentine’s Day. We walked together and talked about the weather. When I saw Su and her husband, I felt happy. They showed us their apartment, where it was so beautiful. We saw some photos about their family. Her husband told some stories to us. Then my teacher wanted us to share Chinese culture, we used chopsticks to move candies and told about Chinese New Year. I felt happy because I felt love from them.

Xinyi and Mingwei (center left and center right, China) enjoyed spending Valentine’s Day and Lunar New Year time with our friends, Ed and Sue (far left and far right).