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U.S. Business Communication and Culture Program Details

The USBCC Program includes two Business English courses and various activities to acclimatize students to life and business in the United States.

Course Descriptions

Integrated Skills

This class is designed to improve students’ reading, vocabulary, writing and analytical skills which are necessary for success in Graduate School. By using phrases, vocabulary, and organizational structures discussed in the course, students read and respond to assignments typical in business such as cases and company/industry research. Students apply research techniques taught by a USF librarian, search for current articles and reports on their respective company, and practice integrating and discussing facts, data and charts in written reports. Blackboard, the USF electronic course tool, is demonstrated and students are required to access it for additional course materials, and for posting assignments.
Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Exhibit an understanding of and facility with classroom language which allows students to participate and listen more effectively and confidently.
  • Demonstrate use of academic business reading and writing skills through activities and projects.
  • Demonstrate the ability to draft memos and reports.
  • Exhibit the acquisition and accurate use of business vocabulary both orally and in writing.
  • Cooperate with group members on projects, requiring students to assess a problem, negotiate with each other, and deliver results.
  • Become familiar with US classroom culture and teachers’ expectations.
Oral Communication Skills

The business environment in the United States demands strong communication and presentation skills. Business professionals are expected to be both poised and convincing speakers. This requires well-organized and prepared presentations that are delivered in a clear, concise and interesting manner. This Business Communication course will prepare students for participation in U.S. business culture by perfecting speaking and listening skills. In addition, students have the opportunity to develop essential critical thinking and analytical skills that focus on how to organize information, solve problems, build arguments and use creativity.
Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Show conceptual understanding of communication skills associated with professional and academic contexts in the United States.
  • Demonstrate communication and organization skills associated with oral communication both as an individual and a team member.
  • Gain experience in solving organizational problems by analyzing problems and developing created solutions.
  • Persuade an audience by developing convincing arguments to topical professional issues.
  • Enhance the ability to give critical feedback and to analyze one’s strengths and weaknesses.

Sample Activities

  • Library Orientation
  • Federal Reserve Tour
  • Classroom Simulation
  • Networking Events
  • Case Studies
  • Ferry Building Tour and Tastings


USBCC courses are taught by experienced USF faculty with a background in business and Teaching English as a Second Language.

Jeffrey Breyer

Jeffrey Breyer has over 20 years experience developing and directing international communication and instructional programs for corporations, universities, state and federal governments. He has trained top government officials, business leaders, and university personnel on professional communication.  Mr. Breyer holds graduate degrees from Columbia University. He has been a faculty member in the MBA Program at University at Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, Spain since 2001 and an adjunct professor in the ESL Program at the University of San Francisco since 1994.

Kirsten Hilbert

Kirsten Hilbert received her MA in TESOL from San Francisco State in 2000. She has worked as a member of the S.F. State English faculty for 10 years, teaching in the Composition for Multi-lingual Speakers program. In addition, she has taught Business Writing for foreign graduate MBA students as part of Stanford’s summer E.F.S. program. In 2011, she taught English for Business as part of the University of San Francisco’s ESL/IEP program.

Simone Hoelck

Simone Hoelck has taught Business and Academic English, including research paper and business case writing, self-editing and presentation skills for more than six years at Golden Gate University (GGU) and San Francisco State University (SFSU). She has a B.A. in Business & Humanities from GGU, an M.S.B.A. with an emphasis in International Business, and an M.A. in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) from SFSU. She also worked for several years in the business world before becoming a teacher.

Felicia A. Mazzi

Felicia A. Mazzi transitioned into the field of education after a number of years in Human Resources where she worked to recruit, hire, and train new employees for both national and global companies. Following a memorable experience in an adult ESL class along with a worldwide trip, she knew she had found her passion in teaching diverse learners. Felicia later returned to complete a Master’s in English with a concentration in TESOL from San Francisco State University and later earned a Certificate in Reading. She now has extensive experience in teaching all skilled areas including oral communication, business English, and reading. In addition, Felicia has taught for a wide range of colleges and language programs throughout the San Francisco Bay Area including SFSU’s Downtown Center as well as the American Language Institute. She teaches in the Intersession offering of USBCC.