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International News | July 28, 2021

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Practicing English & Good Nutrition

Practicing English & Good Nutrition

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| On 05, Aug 2015

CU Denver ESL Students Interview Local Chefs

Summer days in Denver, Colorado, are filled with blue skies, sunshine, and a rich harvest of fresh vegetables and fruits. This season also provided International students from the University of Colorado Denver’s ESL Academy with valuable opportunities for practicing English language conversations as well as conducting research in a fun environment at Denver’s Civic Center Eats, a biweekly summer lunch event that boasts “the largest gathering of food trucks in Metro Denver.”

ESL Academy students in Rachel Donelson’s intermediate Listening & Speaking class visited the food trucks and interviewed the chefs as part of a study unit on genetically modified (GM) foods and improving nutrition. The students prepared polling questions in advance to ask different vendors. The questions focused on the chefs’ knowledge of genetically modified foods versus organic foods and the types of ingredients that are used.

Field study projects of this type provide CU Denver’s ESL students with practice in designing and asking questions to support their later efforts in creating capstone projects. Students are able to complete interviews or conduct polls to answer research question from their intended major. Students who successfully complete these capstone projects (which also involve extensive reading, writing, and a public presentation) graduate from the ESL Academy and meet their English language proficiency requirement for the university.

But at Civic Center Eats, students mainly enjoyed talking to the food truck vendors and learning about the variety of delicious foods offered.

“I had a good experience from this trip. I met with a lot of new people who were helpful,”

said Sanjay Munda, a student from India.

His classmate, Abdulrahman Zarah, reflected, “When I went to Civic Center Park and asked the person who works in the food truck, I knew that most of them have a lot of information about GM food. Also, the American people are very friendly.”

Students noted a few key takeaways about genetically modified foods that they learned from the vendors. The students learned that some of the food trucks did not emphasize organic ingredients, while others did.

“GM food is bad for your health, but people use it because it is cheap,” Hossam Sappan, a student from Saudi Arabia, reported.

Abdulrahman Aldawsari captured the concern of his classmates when he said,

“I hope we can change our eating food habits for the better and be aware about the risk of eating GM food.”

Here’s to healthy dining and interesting capstone projects, ESL Academy students!

Learn More

To learn more about the ESL Academy, University of Colorado Denver, visit:

Find out about other ESL Academy Level 5 student research presentations at:
ESL Academy Level 5 Research Presentations