ELP In-Depth: CSI ESL Academy

logoIn life, opening one door often means closing another. After all, even with ice cream you cannot have both vanilla and chocolate and, in choosing one, must forgo the other (unless, of course, it’s a chocolate swirl). Fortunately, the Computer Systems Institute ESL Academy is an exception to this rule. With campuses in both Chicago and Boston, its campuses allow aspiring English language students to receive a quality education without the burden of choosing between two of America’s greatest cities.

Who should attend the CSI ESL Academy?
The CSI ESL Academy offers programs to meet the needs of a wide variety of students. Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced students stand to benefit from its flagship Intensive English program. At the same time, those with an eye on developing advanced English for specific purposes will find its Academic and Business English programs to be an ideal match for their needs.

Where is the school located and where is housing?
With campuses located in Illinois (Chicago, Skokie, Lombard, Elgin, and Gurnee) as well as in Massachusetts (Boston and Worcester), the ESL Academy offers its students a wide range of English language immersion options. That having been said, while the ELP does not provide housing for its students it does provide a wide variety of resources to its students to enable them to find their own accommodations. After all, with so many campuses in close proximity to two of the country’s most exciting destinations the possibilities are nearly limitless.

When are classes held?
Each of the ELP’s three levels (Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced) runs 30 weeks. This period is itself divided into three academic terms of ten weeks each which allow students to intensively focus on a different aspect of English proficiency each term.

Finally, what makes the CSI ESL Academy unique?
In addition to the sheer number of locations and study plans available to student, the CSI ESL Academy is also unique because of its Degree Link program. The Degree Link program offers students enrolled in the ELP the chance to earn college credits in high-growth career fields while simultaneously improving their English proficiency. In so doing, studying at the CSI ESL Academy means you can have your cake and eat it, too.


English Immersion Destinations: The United States

spanish to english123176847Why study English in The United States?
Though, as our previous piece in this multi-part series on English immersion destinations discussed, English arose in England, the United States is arguably the guarantor of English in the 21st century. After all, because America is the world’s preeminent political, economic, and social power, students who immerse themselves in American-style English will possess a distinct advantage in many aspects of English-language culture. From the boardroom to Broadway, American English – and the more than 300 million people who speak it natively – will provide a clear advantage to candidates who are seeking to learn English to expand their academic, professional, or social horizons.

Where can I study?
The reach of American English around the world is almost as vast as the country itself and opportunities to study English around almost every corner. Though obvious hotspots include New York City and Washington DC, there are a variety of English Language Programs available from sea to shining sea. With literally thousands of programs to chose from the possibilities not only appear limitless but also ensure that there is a program out there to meet the needs of international students of all kinds. Those interested in high-energy lifestyle will find a number of major metropolises to chose from while those who prefer a quieter pace of life will find any of a number of smaller towns in the country an ideal fit. Likewise, specialized programs – be they for law, medicine, or business – also exist in almost every state.

What are the student visa regulations like?
Getting a visa to study in the United States is easy. If you plan on studying more than 18 hours a week – as most immersion programs require – then you will need to obtain an F-1 student but before you can apply for a visa you need to get an I-20 form from the school you plan to attend. Because each international student goes through this process your school will be instrumental in guiding you through this process and, indeed, they will be your point on contact throughout the visa application process. To learn more about the process, visit our US student visa page.


English Immersion Destinations: Study English in England

England71263137Why study English in England?
English is, as the name suggests, a product of England. This simple fact makes the country instantly attractive to English language learners and the natural place to begin our overview of English immersion destinations. Though technically a part of the United Kingdom, England possesses a dynamic culture and rich history that sets it apart from the rest of the commonwealth. Though famous as the seat of the once mighty British Empire, the country has one foot solidly in the past and another squarely in future. As a result it is well-suited to meet the needs of international students from all walks of life.

Where can I study?
Indeed, from the metropolis that is London to sleepy seaside villages and all manner of cities and towns in between, the country truly does offer a little something for everyone. From the rich legacy revealed by London’s Houses of Parliament and Shakespeare’s home in Stratford-Upon-Avon to some of the world’s most vibrant nightlife, there is a place for everyone in England.

Moreover, because only students admitted to accredited language schools can receive a student visa, students can be certain that they are receiving a quality education no matter where they study English in England. Indeed, as part of the accreditation immersion programs are regularly inspected by independent auditors. Thus, no matter if you are interested in studying English for academic, professional, or personal purposes you can rest easy and enjoy your time in England!

What are the student visa regulations like?
Best of all, England – through the UK Border Agency – welcomes international students. Though a study visa (the specific category of which will vary based on applicant’s age as well as on the length and level of the courses that he or she intends to study) is required for most courses of study, the process is transparent and straightforward. For more information about the specific visa qualifications, check the UKBA website. Given all of this it is little wonder why more than half a million language learners come to England each year to use the language in its natural home.

If you want to learn more, read on to see what it is like to learn English in the UK!


ELP In-Depth: Marshall University L.E.A.P. Intensive English Program

marshall_university_big_logoAlthough the first two parts of our multi-part series on Intensive English Programs around the world focused on programs in New York City and Boston, megacities like these are not the only places international students can immerse themselves in English. Indeed, as the Marshall University L.E.A.P. program proves, there are high-quality IEP opportunities available to meet the needs of aspiring students throughout the United States.

Who should attend Marshall University L.E.A.P. Intensive English Program?
Marshall University’s flagship Intensive English Program is, as the name suggests, dedicated to helping students Learning English for Academic Purposes. Accordingly it offers two distinct programs to meet the needs of aspiring international students. The first, known as the Academic Pathways program, is meant for students who want pursue their higher education goals in the US but need a little help attaining the appropriate English proficiency test scores. Designed for both aspiring undergraduate and graduate students, the program offers conditional acceptance to Marshall University that is contingent on the successful completion of one or two semesters of specialized preparation work. At the same time, though the Pathways Program is focused on academic English, Marshall University also offers more general English Language programs that will suit those interested in learning English for any of a variety of personal or professional purposes.

Where is the school located and where is housing?
The Marshall University campus is located in tranquil Huntington, West Virginia. Huntington is as safe and comfortable as any small city in the country and Marshall’s location in it provides students with easy access to a variety of shopping, dining, and entertainment options. Moreover, because Undergraduate Pathway and Academic English students are required to live on campus for their first year, they will be at the heart of the on-campus action.

When are classes held?
Pathway and other academic programs are offered three times a year January (15 week), May (10 week), August (15 week) while General English courses have rolling start dates and program durations that can last from as little as 5 to as many as 45 weeks.

Finally, what makes Marshall University’s L.E.A.P. program unique?
As members of the 16,000-strong Marshall University student body, L.E.A.P students can study English and take advantage of collegiate life at the same time. Indeed, by studying at Marshall students can use the university’s computer labs, indoor swimming pool, fitness centers and libraries and, in so doing, truly immerse themselves in English!

>> Learn more about Marshall University’s LEAP program here


Study English in Canada

Why study English in Canada?
Though it is often overshadowed by its more prominent neighbor to the south, a closer look at Canada reveals that this gentle giant of a country has a lot to offer international students. From a dollars and sense perspective alone, for example, Canada offer high-quality educational opportunities at affordable prices. With the low cost of living, favorable exchange rate, and moderate tuition fees, studying English in Canada can be far less expensive than in the US or UK.

Where can I study?
Cost alone does not explain why Canada is the fourth most popular study abroad destination in the world, however. No, Canada’s consistent appeal is also due to the fact that major Canadian cities like Toronto and Vancouver consistently rank as among the best places to live in the world. Though Toronto, as the country’s largest city, offers a more cosmopolitan feel than the more outdoorsy Vancouver, both cities – and indeed many of the country’s smaller towns and villages – are renowned for their safety, cleanliness, and friendliness. Even outside the major cities a number of immersion opportunities exist. Moreover, because Canada has a policy of encouraging multicultural diversity international students can make the most of their time in Canada no matter where they study.

What are the Canadian student visa regulations like?
Students from many countries may enter – and study – in Canada for a period of up to six months without a visa. Students who wish to study for more than six months, however, must obtain a Study Permit from the office of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). Because receipt of the permit is contingent upon acceptance in a school in Canada, however, candidates should apply to the language school of their choice first and then submit the resulting documents to the CIC. For more information about this process, see the CIC’s website.

>>Find schools in Canada where you can learn English.


ELP In-Depth: Boston Academy of English

Boston Academy of EnglishNew York City and Boston are proudly distinct despite their closeness. In fact, as two of the greatest cities in the United States they are in competition with one another in many regards. From art to business and beyond, one need only consider baseball’s most famous rivalry – the seemingly timeless conflict between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox – to find ample proof of this good-natured feud. Thus it makes sense in this, the second in our multi-part series on English Language Programs in the United States and around the globe, that we at ESL Directory head north from New York to and examine, in its namesake jewel of New England, The Boston Academy of English.

Who should attend The Boston Academy of English?
The Boston Academy of English – or BAE for short – has a variety of English immersion programs for students of all ages. The school primarily works to provide a high quality English as a Second Language instructional service to adults by focusing on a variety of English language needs and skills. With programs of study that range from English immersion to business English – and classes that are divided into as many as eight levels – students with a variety of needs can benefit from their emphasis on building language proficiency, communicative competence, and American cultural awareness. Moreover, thanks to its Youth Summer Program even children study at BAE.

Where is the school located and where is housing?
BAE recently redesigned its downtown Boston facilities meaning that students not only have a variety of world class attractions at their doorstep but also easy access to all major subway lines and public transportation. At the same time, students enrolled in any of BAE’s English immersion programs can take advantage of its resources find a homestays, apartments, or even a spot in BAE’s own student residence hall.

When are classes held?
The BAE’s Intensive 20, 25, and 30 programs allow full-time students to choose the number of lessons they receive each week for as little as two weeks while its part time and weekend permit working professions to pursue their studies on Monday and Wednesday evenings and/or Saturday mornings for six weeks. New sessions begin year-round.

Finally, what makes the Boston Academy of English unique?
In addition to all of the above, BAE also offers two month TOEFL preparation courses, specialized au pair program, and even the option to develop a customized, 1-on-1 program of study. As a result, students really can accomplish anything with BAE!


English Immersion Destinations

globe-157823756It should come as no surprise that English is the lingua franca – that is, unifying language – of the 21st century. It is, after all, one of the official languages of the United Nations, the European Union, and many other organizations around the world, as well as the common language of exchange in boardrooms and classrooms in places as varied as Brussels, Burundi, and Brunei.

Still, though it may be the most widely spoken second language in the world, it falls squarely behind Mandarin and Spanish as the third most common native language in the world. As a result, then, though English speakers are common (and English learners commoner still), there are relatively few places where students can learn English as it is used by native speakers. This is unfortunate because, while there may be relatively few places immerse oneself in English, such immersion remains the best way to learn the language. After all, even if the best language classes must eventually end, living in English immersion destinations can present a unique form of “extracurricular homework” – and, indeed, invaluable practice.

It is with this in mind, then, that we begin this series on English immersion destinations. In the weeks and months ahead we will try to explore some of the more useful (and interesting) English immersion destinations that are equipped to meet the needs of aspiring English speakers. Through the course of this series we hope to shed new light into even the most obvious immersion venues – English, after all, started in England, and so too will our tour – as well as some of the more off-the-beaten path – South Africa, anyone? – opportunities. In so doing we hope to show that the English immersion destinations that exist are every bit as rich and varied as the language itself!


ELP In-Depth: American Language Institute

classroom153379569As the first in a multi-part series on English Language Programs in the United States and around the globe, we at ESL Directory wanted to examine one of the world’s premier destinations: New York City. At the same time, since we are visiting the Big Apple, it only makes sense to start with the American Language Institute, the English language program at its namesake university.

Who should attend the American Language Institute?
ALI, as it is widely know, is ideal for both international students interested in studying English full-time in the United States and working professionals already in the area who are interested in polishing their English skills at a more relaxed pace. Because the needs of these two groups are disparate, the ALI offers English language courses from the beginner to advanced levels. Full-time students at or above the intermediate level are encourage to take advantage of afternoon enrichment classes on subjects that range from TOEFL prep to art appreciation. Advanced students are eligible to further their educations still more through evening courses at the ALI or noncredit classes NYU itself.

Where is the school located and is housing available?
The ALI’s main offices are centrally located in downtown Manhattan, just blocks from City Hall and Wall Street. Though NYU’s Office of Off-Campus Housing, international students can find school-managed housing throughout the city as well as advice on making and maintaining third-party housing arrangements.

When are classes held?
All three levels of the ALI’s Intensive English Program classes meet for five hours daily, Monday through Thursday. Afternoon and evening enrichment opportunities extend beyond that. Fall and Spring semesters are 14 weeks in length but two shorter summer semesters (which can be combined) are only six weeks each. Finally, ALI offers still-shorter summer seminars that provide international students with the opportunity to practice their English skills while exploring New York City.

Finally, what makes the American Language Institute unique?
In addition to its almost ideal setting at the heart of one of the English-speaking world’s greatest cities, because all students at the ALI are also part of NYU’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies, they are entitled to access the university’s world class facilities (academic and athletic) as well as their legendary cultural events. As a result, ALI students have access not only to New York City but also the world.


How to Find the Right English Immersion Program for you!

evaluating-apples152150049With thousands of study centers to choose from, it can sometimes seem impossible to find the right English Immersion Program. It is important to recognize, however, that ESL programs are just as unique as the students that attend them and, as a result, no one school can be a “perfect fit” for everyone. Instead students should consider the following factors when trying to find a program that meets their specific needs:

Keep Your Eye on the Prize. The best way to find the right English Immersion Program is to keep your larger careers goals in mind. Instead of seeking out the best known schools, try to find ones that offer programs tailored to your specific needs. If you are interested in learning English for Medicine, for example, try to find a program that focuses on that area of language development. Once you have found a few, you can even take things a step further by contacting current or former students to see if their experiences were like.

Study the Demographics. Because you have already reached out to students at the school, this is an ideal time to get a feel for the makeup of the school’s student body. When trying to find the right English Immersion Program the schools with the most diverse student bodies will often serve you best. Though it may seem comforting to know many of your classmates come from the same background as one another (or yourself), a broader mix of students will force you to use English as a common language both in your classes and around campus.

Don’t Forget the Bottom Line. Finally, of course, it is important to take cost into consideration. Just remember that while high prices do not necessarily mean high quality, if a higher price tag enables a school to hire faculty members with more experience (or just more faculty members in general), it may be worth it. Also, of course, better amenities can greatly enhance the learning process. Just remember to budget wisely, though: even the best program is worthless if you run out money before you finish it!


Study at CSI ESL Academy

CSI Academy StudentsThose who are look for the ideal language immersion experience know that sometimes it comes down to location, location, location. Fortunately, as the diverse students that study at CSI ESL Academy can attest, CSI allows international students to carefully select the English immersion environment that is right for them. Indeed, over the years students from over 40 countries have found CSI to be the right place for them thanks to its network of campuses in and around Chicago and Boston. Of course, those with an eye on urban culture will benefit from their Chicago and Boston campuses but at the same time, those interested in trying out a quieter pace of life during their immersion experience will find their other three campuses – two other Illinois (Skokie and Lombard) and another in Massachusetts (Worcester) – ideal.

No matter which campus students select, however, those who study at any of CSI ESL Academy’s campuses will benefit from simultaneously studying a language in class and using it in their environment. By enabling students to apply their new language skills in real world situations, CSI cultivates a self-reinforcing learning environment and enables students to become from more comfortable using English in a variety of contexts.

That variety is further reinforced by the wide variety of English language programs available to those who study at CSI’s ESL Academy. With its beginner, intermediate, and advanced level coursework, students of all backgrounds can benefit from their signature Intensive English courses while those with an eye on English-language higher education will find one of the three advanced-level Academic English programs to be perfect fit for their needs. Likewise, internships arranged through their Business English program allows students with F1 visas to legally work and live in the US while improving both their English and professional skills at the same time.

Thus, as you can see, from the Northeast to the Midwest and from the beginner level to the most advanced, CSI’s ESL Academy’s unparalleled level of service could be just the change you are looking for!