University of Illinois – Springfield

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ESL Students Enjoy Experiential Learning in the Capital of Illinois

Over 90% of students completing the ESL program at the University of Illinois at Springfield (UIS) successfully matriculate into undergraduate and graduate degrees at the university, which is known for its top programs in the sciences and liberal arts. With seven levels including a Bridge program, the UIS ESL program provides thorough academic English preparation for students and offers conditional admissions to undergraduates who successfully complete the exit exam.

Student Life at UIS

ESL students at UIS often live on campus and are encouraged to fully integrate with other university students. The Office of Campus Life and the International Student Services ensure that students are supported from taking care of the visa process to organising activities throughout the semester. “These university activities allow the students to completely immerse themselves in American culture and American society,” explained ESL Director Driss El-Akrich.

The Central Illinois area offers a wealth of recreational options, with the nearby wetlands and nature reserves being a hit amongst students. Springfield, the state capital, provides students with exciting opportunities to witness government sessions, visit political and historical museums, listen to talks given by local government officials, and participate in important lab research and other projects.

Learning Beyond the Classroom

The ESL program at UIS provides meaningful learning opportunities outside the classroom. The material learned in class is reinforced outside the classroom through field trips and group activities. For example, the students read Mark Twain stories and then visit his birthplace. They listen to Abraham Lincoln speeches and then visit the Presidential Museum and Library. The students not only experience living history, but also are able to form relationships with their peers outside an academic setting. Mr. El-Akrich commented, “It’s more of a kind of experiential learning.”

“We offer an extensive reading program and conversation partners for our students to increase their English proficiency,” said Mr. El-Akrich. “Our coffee hours and cultural cafes also allow the students to share their culture with students and staff at the university.”

With small class sizes, an intimate campus environment, and a focus on experiential learning, the UIS ESL program is a perfect place for international students to prepare for an exciting future at the University of Illinois, Springfield.

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