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EuroKera’s Cultural Alliance Week

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.


English Immersion Course for Travelers

As Hildegard found out that her husband would be on an extended business trip in Greenville, SC, she was excited about the idea of visiting him.  He was planning to stay for around a year, and she was looking forward to spending some time with him in the United States and learning more about the English language and American culture.  


Before Hildegard came, she made sure to sign up for IMMERSE, an English immersion course created by Wetzel Languages.  Like most Germans, Hildegard had taken a lot of English classes in school and felt like she understood the grammar quite well.  However, due to a lack of practical experience, she struggled with speaking, and really wanted to improve her conversation skills.  Accordingly, we created an intensive English course that emphasized English communication, with a few touches of grammar when applicable.  

The classes with Hildegard were enjoyable.  Hildegard wasn’t stuck in a classroom studying English the entire day.  Instead, teachers took her to some of the best places around the city to have a coffee, ice cream, and lunch.  Of course, Hildegard worked diligently on her English speaking skills, but was also able to have fun and explore the American culture while she was learning.  

Hildegard also had a few unique experiences.  During one class, she ran into a group of protesters and struck up a conversation with them about U.S. and German politics.  It was a challenging topic, but it also made for an interesting and educational conversation for both sides.  In another class, Hildegard went to Cracker Barrel to eat an authentic southern breakfast.  She tried biscuits and gravy, grits, and apple butter for the first time, and loved that she was able to taste some traditional regional food and learn more about southern culture.  A day later, Hildegard and her teacher were having class in an outdoor cafe, while they met someone from the north of the United States.  They ended up discussing regional differences between the north and the south, and Hildegard was able to learn more about the U.S. culture while simultaneously acquiring new English vocabulary.

All in all, it was a great experience for everyone.  Thank you for coming, Hildegard, and we hope to see you in Greenville again!  


The idea to create this video came from a conversation I had with Manfred Tonhaeuser last year. He was telling me about his arrival to the U.S nine years ago, the mistakes he made, and why he believes that language and intercultural training is key for international businesses that want to relocate to the United States.

We both realized that there are many international companies that don’t allocate enough resources to provide quality English and intercultural training courses for their expats. Unfortunately, it’s only later that they realize what a costly mistake they made.

Our goal with this video is to share Manfred’s experience, in hopes of helping international companies understand the importance of investing in language and intercultural training from the beginning and how it can ultimately save their businesses from headaches and financial losses in the long-run.

The Importance of Business English


The Importance of business English

The Importance of Business English

Having a firm handle on the English language is crucial for business professionals in our global economy today.  It’s more important than ever for managers and executives to not only have a foundation of the English language, but to also understand the subtleties of how to communicate in the most effective way possible.  

There are international professionals who can speak English well, but when they come to the U.S. on a business trip, they have a difficult time understanding their co-workers’ accent or jargon.  They attend important meetings and speak English as they would in their native language.  However, they experience less success than they had originally hoped for since they lack the language and cultural skills needed to connect with their colleagues effectively.    An example of this would be the use of the word “no.” Some foreigners are accustomed to using this word more directly in their native language, and can therefore be too blunt when they say “no” in English.  Americans like to hear the word “no” in a softer way, and could be offended if a colleague says “no” to them in such a direct manner.   There are many uncomfortable situations like these that can be avoided with simply a better understanding of the subtleties of the English language.  


A Business English Course for You

Immerse week& fitnessmanagement

In May of 2017, Wetzel Languages will be offering an IMMERSE week for international professionals who are wanting to take their English to the next level. The course will take place from June 19 – 13 and students will receive over 35 hours of business English training from teachers who have up to 15 years of ESL experience and who truly understand the importance of business English.

IMMERSE classes will concentrate on business English development but classes will also be customized for each individual student.  Prior to the start of the course, a linguistic expert will conduct a thorough diagnostic assessment in order to gain insight into each student’s strengths and weaknesses in the English language.  Then, tailored classes will be created to help students improve in the areas where they are struggling the most.  For example, if a student is having issues with the past tense, small talk and the conditionals, teachers would dedicate class time to help that student improve in those areas.  

The May IMMERSE week will also offer the students an opportunity to have fun and learn more about the American culture.  Students will participate in a culinary tour, attend a baseball game, and have dinner at an American’s home.  These activities will not only help students to gain more insight into the American way of life, but will also allow students time to practice their English skills in a more natural setting.


Find out more about IMMERSE

The importance of business English for international professionals in the U.S. is undeniable, and those who master this skill will be more successful in their careers.  If you are interested in taking your English to the next level, check out our website and contact us at [email protected].


Intensive Business English Course

Intensive Business English Course


IMMERSE – An Intensive Business English Course

Companies around the world send their international employees to Greenville for IMMERSE, an intensive business English course designed to help professionals and executives advance their English skills.   The IMMERSE program offers a thorough diagnostic assessment, 35 to 75 hours of classes with experienced English teachers, and an opportunity for students to fully immerse themselves into the English language and American culture.


Two Weeks as an IMMERSE Student

We recently had Ronald, a engineer from Germany, partake in our intensive business English course.  He came to us from one of the most recognized automotive companies in the world, and needed to improve his English before beginning a long-term assignment in the United States.  He knew the basics, but he still struggled with speaking and listening comprehension, and he wanted to better his English in order to effectively communicate with his American colleagues.

Ronald signed up for our two-week intensive business English course where he studied English with five different teachers for a total of 60 hours of English training. Each teacher brought different skill sets to their classes, which made Ronald’s English lessons more varied and comprehensive. Some teachers focused on improving his grammar, while others took him to coffee shops or restaurants to practice his conversation and listening skills.  His favorite part of the course was the class where attended his first-ever baseball game.  He loved learning the rules of the game and even ended up receiving a game ball, which was the highlight of his night. It was not only a great opportunity for him to hang out with Americans and further expand his English conversation skills, but it was also a cultural experience that he will never forget.

By the end of the two-week course, Ronald’s English had significantly improved and he felt more confident in his ability to speak and understand the language.  He enjoyed working with five different teachers, because he believed that each teacher brought their own expertise to the course. He also appreciated the variety of activities in the lessons he was taking and loved that he was not stuck inside a classroom the entire day.  It’s easy to see that Ronald truly enjoyed and benefited from the IMMERSE program, and our teachers had a great time working with him.


Are You Looking for an Intensive Business English Course?

If you are interested in learning more about our English immersion program, visit our website or contact us at [email protected]




English Immersion Program in the U.S. in March 2017

Are you looking to advance your English? This IMMERSE week is an English immersion program in the U.S. in March 2017 that will help you to significantly improve your English skills.

March is a beautiful time to visit Greenville! Trees are colorful, temperatures are comfortable, and there are plenty of interesting ways to immerse yourself in American English.

The Immerse program strikes just the right balance for effective, enjoyable language learning: a varied blend of focused instruction and real-life practice.  After mornings of structured English learning, teachers will take you out in the community to explore a new city, have dinner in an American home, tour breweries, explore the nature, and more — all while practicing your English speaking and listening skills with skilled, experienced language coaches and other native speakers.

The Immerse program includes an initial diagnostic assessment, more than 35 hours of English lessons and cultural activities in six days, and a final assessment. Only four spots are available for the March week, so contact [email protected] by February 20th to reserve your place.


If you can’t make it to the Immerse week, we are also happy to create a customized English week for you and your team.