To study abroad in English-speaking countries such as the US, international students have to overcome the hurdle of passing language proficiency tests such as TOEFL or the IELTS.
This may not faze those already fluent in the language, but for the others, it could be what prevents them from pursuing their dream of studying abroad.
But they needn’t worry.
Many universities offer English Intensive Courses that help students meet the necessary language requirements before they proceed with their degree programmes. These are usually offered at English Language Institutes (ELIs) affiliated with the university, or under a separate program.
Many offer conditional admission, meaning they accept international students who meet the appropriate admission requirements (such as SAT scores) but lack the speaking and writing English fluency required.
Plus, they get the added benefit of improving their English in an immersive setting, as some of these institutes also provide Conversation Partners – native speakers who volunteer to converse with international students to help them improve their English.
They also offer Academic English courses so students can develop the relevant skills needed to succeed in a degree-level course, such as writing academic essays and answering discussion questions.
But the language barrier isn’t the only challenge ELIs help international students counter.
Culture shock and the inability to connect with the locals can also be difficult. These institutes not only offer students the chance to fulfil their dreams, but also help them adjust to a new country and culture.
They act as welcoming communities, introducing them to local colloquialisms and ways of life so they can seamlessly transition into college life after passing their English courses.
Most ELIs or English Placement Programs also waive the English proficiency test requirement, so students can save time and money.
Here are four universities that provide an ideal and supportive study abroad experience for international students, situated in dream locations across North America.
At Kansas State University, international students join a vibrant and growing international student community in a friendly environment.
They can rely on the English Language Program (ELP) intensive English classes to help them get started. This might be to improve their English for personal or professional reasons or to get ready to begin a degree program at K-State.
In addition to receiving English instruction, they are also introduced to American culture and education, helping them integrate well into campus life. The program fosters a supportive community that feels like family so students can receive plenty of academic and personal support to help them get adjusted.
For those wanting to go on to get a degree, the English Language Program (ELP) provides quality programming and allows students to seamlessly transition to academic work at Kansas State. They also save time and money as the English intensive classes here offer academic credit which counts towards their degree completion.
Therefore, they get to fully enjoy life as an international student in the university, situated on a beautiful campus and set against a backdrop of the clear blue skies and lush greenery that the picturesque state of Kansas is famous for.
Students here who plan to enter an American university and need to improve their English skills can join the English Language Institute (ELI).
In 2014, USCD’s ELI was voted best English Language Institute in the United States as the ESL classes adhere to the best standards of excellence in the US.
The ELI also provides a list of Conversation Partners to ELI students – UC San Diego university students and employees who want to help international students with English conversation – in exchange for the opportunity to learn the international student’s native language.
International students in San Diego get to enjoy the beautiful city in California with 100 kilometers of beaches, mountains up to 2,000 meters, and the best climate in the United States, with 263 sunny days per year.
The university’s location reflects the beauty of San Diego with its large campus overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Students in the ELI also enjoy facilities on campus such as campus swimming pools, tennis courts, fitness centers, and other campus recreational facilities.
During their free time, they can entertain themselves by visiting several museums, a world-renowned zoo, theme parks, famous golf courses, and a lively theater scene, as well as great food, shopping and nightlife in the historic downtown quarter.
Temple University in Philadelphia has a thriving and diverse student population which includes students from nearly 130 countries, including Brazil, China, France, Korea, Nigeria and all parts of the US.
International students also receive career support as there are resources such as career counseling, job search services and access to internships in their respective fields of study.
The Intensive English Language Program (IELP) helps students improve their English skills while they interact with students from around the globe.
For students who are academically qualified but don’t meet the language requirements, they are eligible for the Conditional Admission program.
After successful completion of Conditional Admission Level 3, they will be directly enrolled at the university and will not need to take the TOEFL or IELTS test.
IELP students also participate in excursions to area attractions, sporting events and US cultural holiday celebrations.
They also receive assistance with setting up US cell phone and bank accounts, in-depth orientation and shopping trips to help them set up their student housing.
International students at Temple University also enjoy studying in the bustling city of Philadelphia which is rich in history, art and culture.
It is the first World Heritage city in the United States and the second-largest city on the east coast of the United States.
It is also close to the New Jersey Beaches (commonly known as “the shore”) and the Pocono Mountains, meaning they can enjoy swimming in the summer and skiing in the winter.
*Some of the institutions featured on this article are commercial partners of Study International