Food, drink, phonics, etiquette, idioms, games, secret codes, more food and drink — the Cultural Alliance Week hosted each summer by EuroKera, an international glass-ceramic producer, blends these elements into a full American experience for a select group of its international associates.
The role of Wetzel Languages during the Cultural Alliance Week is to organize 24 hours of English and culture sessions and activities for the participants, who come from France, China and Thailand. The annual event allows these employees to build relationships with their U.S. counterparts at the Fountain Inn (S.C.) plant, while improving their language skills and cultural understanding. The group is typically a combination of managers, engineers and safety professionals, among other roles.
Based on diagnostic assessments conducted in advance via Skype, we divided this year’s participants — Francois, Pierre-Marie, Gregory, Thibault, Julie, Cecelia, and Alvin — into two groups, according to English level. A team of four teachers from Wetzel taught the English and culture sessions at the Hyatt Regency Hotel and accompanied the group for a culinary tour in downtown Greenville, a dinner party in a private home, and an escape room activity at Breakout Greenville.
This year, in addition to the English sessions, EuroKera asked us to offer French and Chinese language and culture sessions for some of their American employees, to help make the week a true exchange. We were happy to be able to do so, thanks to Sandrine and Ying, two of our excellent, native-speaker French and Chinese teachers.
Rebecca Small, who conducted the Skype assessments and taught several of the English sessions, says that the Cultural Alliance Week is a highlight of her work year. “For three summers running, the EuroKera participants have proven to be highly motivated and appreciative of the topics we discuss, particularly differences in business cultures around the world,” she said. “It’s a pleasure to work with them.”
EuroKera is jointly owned by Saint-Gobain — a 350-year-old French company — and Corning Inc. of Corning, New York. EuroKera is known primarily for state-of-the-art glass-ceramic cooktops, produced in its five facilities in France (two factories), China, Thailand and the U.S.