ELS Language Center partners with NIU

By Jack Baker

The new ELS Language Center in DeKalb is partnering with NIU to provide an intensive English program to foreign students.

“Intensive English is for those international students who would like to go to an American university but they don’t have the test scores that they need in order to enter into the university,” said center director Teri Laliberte.

The program accepts students from around the world and lasts anywhere from four months to a year, Laliberte said. While here, students study English for 30 hours a week, she said. The classrooms for the program are located on the third floor of the Health Services building on campus.

The students’ day consists of five basic classes in grammar, speaking, their presentation core class, reading and writing and a skills enhancement class in the afternoon.

“We also try to work in some film classes, where they can improve their skills and also have some fun,” Laliberte said.

The students in the program live in the residence halls and have many of the same privileges as NIU students, although they don’t technically go to the university. Living on campus is important because it gives them the opportunity to meet Americans and experience a new culture, Laliberte said.

The center opened this September with 10 students from six different countries including Brazil, Chile, South Korea, China, Saudi Arabia and Libya. The second cycle of students started classes on Monday. The next cycle will feature 10 more students including students from Gabon and Taiwan.

Mohanna Alseriy of Saudi Arabia was one of the first students to enter the program and said he has really enjoyed his time here in DeKalb.

“It’s good, we can learn English and do many activities,” Alseriy said. “We have made many friends from many countries.”

Laliberte said she thinks the ELS program benefit both foreign students and NIU.

“NIU is a wonderful for campus for international students,” Laliberte said. “I’m hoping with the ELS partnership with NIU we will see more and more international students here on campus.”