"Living in America" Course Set for Mar. 20-May 1


Join the conversation! The MCCC Center for Continuing Studies invites people new to America to participate in a six-week course entitled "Living in America," to be held Tuesdays, from Mar. 20-May 1, 6 to 8 p.m. The class will be held on Mercer's West Windsor campus at 1200 Old Trenton Road.

The course instructor is Dr. Joan Goldstein, a research sociologist, poet, author and artist. According to Dr. Goldstein, the concept for this unique class comes from her extensive interaction with immigrants living in the central New Jersey region, as well as her personal history growing up in an immigrant neighborhood in New York City. She explains that people who come to this country for work are often at a loss in many other ways. "You can understand English, but that's not the same as understanding the culture. Every culture has different boundaries, including how we communicate in the workplace and the community," she said. "American culture is a mix of what others have brought here and what we have invented for ourselves."

Dr. Joan Goldstein

Dr. Goldstein notes that when teaching an immigrant group, it is necessary to get a conversation going to assess what the participants know. For "Living in America," she plans to draw from America's rich tradition in literature and the arts - reading short stories and poems aloud, showing works by famous artists, and playing segments from films, all of which should generate meaningful discussions. "A culture's creative achievements are a mirror to its world," she said. "My goal for the class is to help participants gain more confidence in interpreting American culture, to help them develop an appreciation of American art and literature, and to feel less isolated and willing to 'put themselves out there.'" She also hopes that participants will form bonds with others in the class.

Having taught sociology, English and anthropology at Mercer, Dr. Goldstein embraces the variety of her experiences. "I love teaching here. You find such diversity among students - in age, nationality, religion. It's always interesting to be navigating different worlds." Goldstein herself journeyed back to Romania in 2004 to visit the birth place of her immigrant grandparents. In a formative experience as a young teacher, she lived for a time with a family in Puerto Rico, and just this past summer, taught a group of Chinese children about life in America. (Click here for Dr. Goldstein's poem about her experience teaching these children.)

The cost for "Living in America" is $102. For more information on this or other noncredit courses at Mercer this spring, click here or call (609) 570-3311.

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