Line Dancing Lessons Get ESL Students Rodeo Ready!


When you’re driving along a main street in Houston and find yourself surrounded by horseback riders and covered wagons, you know it’s time for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo! As Houstonians, this is one of our favorite events to attend with our Intensive English students. We started our festivities early in the day with a line dancing lesson from a couple of Houston Rodeo volunteers. Students learned the four corners line dance so they could “Boot Scoot,” and then circled up for “Cotton-Eyed Joe.” Those who weren’t quite brave enough to join in the dancing could take pictures in our rodeo-themed photo booth, or snack on traditional chili, a staple of Texas cuisine.

After class later that day, everyone loaded up the bus and rode down the street to NRG Park, where the Houston Rodeo is held every year…where we had even more fun! ESL students got to visit the carnival, see the animals at the AGventure exhibits, taste a little bit of deep-fried anything (Jalapeños! Oreos! Cookie dough!), and of course, watch the world-famous Houston Rodeo. The high energy of the bronco riding and barrel racing events were very popular, but as usual, the unanimous favorite was the mutton bustin’. To top it all off, we enjoyed a musical performance by pop star Demi Lovato…a perfect night at the rodeo!

Author: Savannah Burch, Enrollment Coordinator

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ESL Students Cheer on Rockets for Another Win!

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Our Houston Rockets are currently ranked 3rd in the NBA Western Conference, so our ESL students were ready for a good game when we watched the Rockets take on Orlando Magic last Tuesday! Watching the game was entertaining for our die-hard basketball fans, but there was plenty of entertainment for those of us that maybe don’t follow sports so closely. Dance teams performed during time-outs, the fan cam caught all the funny faces in the stands, and an energy-charged performance by the incredible Prairie View A&M Marching Storm Band brought fans to their feet during halftime! Students also witnessed the City of Houston honor legendary NBA champion Hakeem Olajuwon. To top it all off, the Rockets beat the Orlando Magic 128-104. Go Red Nation!

Author: Savannah Burch, Enrollment Coordinator

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Gifts and Games Galore at the Rice Intensive English Holiday Party!


‘Twas the night before finals and all through the city,
ESL students were studying most intently.
They needed a break or their tired brains were done,
So we were off to Dave & Buster’s to have well-earned fun!’

Yesterday was our last social activity of 2016, and it might have been one of the best we did all year! Intensive English students paused from their studies to celebrate the holidays with dinner, a gift exchange, and lots of arcade games at Dave & Buster’s! Students who participated in the gift exchange were excited to receive chocolate and coffee accessories and one darling little plushie Christmas mouse! After eating lots of nachos and sliders and unwrapping gifts, we discovered that our students were surprisingly good at racing games and skee ball…but not so good at air hockey. Thankfully, with classes ending next week they will have some free time to practice!

We want to wish our students a very happy holiday season, and look forward to seeing them back in class in 2017!

Author: Savannah Burch, Enrollment Coordinator




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Not the Same Old Song and Dance: ESL students add flair to the annual karaoke party!


It’s always fun to see our students show off their many varied talents, and one of the best opportunities for them to do so is our annual karaoke party! This year was especially fun, as we had students perform songs in English, Arabic, Spanish, and Turkish. We had several group performances from students AND teachers, including a moving rendition of “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina.” Even more entertaining than the singing was the dancing! Students learned some of the typical American line dances like the cupid shuffle and the cha cha slide, but by far the best dancing happened when the song “Footloose” came on. A couple of students kind of danced…but one student hopped out of her chair and started MOVING. She kicked her feet and waved her arms just like they did in the original movie and had everyone clapping and cheering for her. It was the most energetic and fun dancing we have ever seen at our karaoke party, and we can’t wait to do it again next year!

Author: Savannah Burch, Enrollment Coordinator


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Rice ESL Students Do the Zoo!


Although the first day of fall in Texas isn’t quite cool enough for sweaters, Thursday was sunny and breezy, PERFECT weather for a trip to the Houston Zoo. ESL students spent the day wandering around Houston’s 55 acre zoo, thoroughly enjoying the antics of the monkeys, the graceful sea lions, and one very attention-hungry brown bear, who put on quite a show for us! All of the animals (with the exception of the big cats, who are, after all, cats) were active, and students had fun watching them and searching out animals from their own countries.

Author: Savannah Burch, Enrollment Coordinator



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Ice Breakers and Snacks at the Fall Meet and Greet

dsc_0018_bHere at the Rice University Intensive English Program we’ve started a brand new session, and almost half of our currently enrolled students are new to the program, so we hosted one of our new session Meet and Greets! Both new and returning students enjoyed light snacks and made friends from different levels. We played an ice breaker name game, and our students turned out to have fantastic memories! Some students were able to go around their table and name all eleven other students, along with what country each of them were from, although all of our students did a really great job learning their classmates’ names. We are looking forward to another great session with the best group of ESL students!

Author: Savannah Burch, Enrollment Coordinator


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Movie Night with Friends, Popcorn…and Dinosaurs!


We’ve had a few rainy afternoons this week in Houston, and one of the best things to do when it’s raining is settle into the couch and watch a movie…so that’s what our ESL students did on Wednesday. We stayed cozy and dry in front of the big screen in the dean’s commons watching one of the best rainy day movies: Jurassic World! Part thriller, part sci-fi, part adventure, it had something for all of our students to enjoy, plus, who doesn’t love a good dinosaur movie? Students snacked on popcorn and candy and had fun watching the movie (and their friends’ reactions to the movie!), while the rain slowed outside, stopping just as the credits rolled and it was time to go home, a happy ending both on screen and off!

Author: Savannah Burch, Enrollment Coordinator





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ESL Students Savor the Flavor of Summer in Houston

DSC_0055_BLast week, our hard working Intensive English students earned themselves a special treat…an ice cream social! This is one of our favorite events of the year, as both our morning and afternoon students have the opportunity to mingle with students from different levels and make new friends. We also really love ice cream here in Houston. Everyone was able to try several different types of ice cream treats (because there is no such thing as too much ice cream!), and the overwhelming favorites were the classic ice cream sandwiches, and the minion pops!

Author: Savannah Burch, Enrollment Coordinator




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ESL Students Have an XTREMEly Good Time at the Circus!

DSC_0013We love taking our Intensive English students to the circus when it comes to town every summer! This year, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey outdid themselves with their exciting “CIRCUS XTREME” show. Students especially enjoyed watching dancers perform on the backs of camels and heart-stopping aerial acrobatics, including a four-person tower…on a tightrope 35 feet in the air! We also got to see all of the circus classics: the big cats, goofy clowns, a live band, and a strong-man act. However, our absolute favorite performer was the human cannonball… the youngest female cannonball in Ringling Bros. history shot herself across the entire arena, did a flip in the air, and landed with a smile on her face! Some of our students captured really great videos of her performance on Snapchat to send to their friends back home. We hope our students had a wonderful time at this classic American show!

Author: Savannah Burch, Enrollment Coordinator



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Bingo and Hot Dogs to Celebrate Independence Day


America’s biggest party of the year is Independence Day, when we commemorate becoming an independent country back in 1776, so we decided to celebrate with our ESL students! We invited Intensive English students to “party like it’s 1776” by participating in a few of our 4th of July traditions, including eating hot dogs and hamburgers and playing bingo. This was our first student activity of the summer session, and we enjoyed sharing a little bit of American culture and giving students an opportunity to meet their new classmates!

Author: Savannah Burch, Enrollment Coordinator




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