International students absorb area culture during English Language Institute at North Central College

Sep 03, 2014

International students enrolled in North Central College’s Summer English Language Institute (ELI) experienced the region’s cultural attractions while learning English.

Students from a range of countries visiting the United States stayed in Naperville and explored museums and other destinations in Chicago. They visited an apple farm and lighthouse in Wisconsin, swam and paddled boats at Naperville’s Centennial Beach, toured Naper Settlement and Chicago’s Millennium Park and shopped and dined throughout the region.

“By immersing students in the area’s rich cultural and educational history we create unique learning opportunities using content-based instruction,” says Kate Pope, ELI director.
This was the first summer a full range of academic courses were offered through North Central’s ELI. The full-time intensive English program is designed to prepare international students for admission to a U.S. college or university by developing academic, professional and social English language skills. The program was launched in 2013.

In summer 2014 ELI offered three academic programs: two four-week courses in July and August and a combined eight-week course covering both months. Eight students enrolled in the July course and 12 in the August program. Students enrolled in the summer programs represented Chile, China, the Czech Republic, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan and Turkey.

Each four-week summer program was designed to improve students’ English speaking and listening skills through relevant experiences such as Chicago museum visits and in-depth tours to everyday places that can be quite different, such as a class visit to a local supermarket.

About two-thirds of summer ELI students lived on campus; others commuted from homes of family or friends in the Naperville area. Those living on campus took advantage of the College’s residential culture by sharing meals in the dining hall and riding bicycles loaned through the Cardinal Red Bike program around campus and downtown Naperville.

Eight students are enrolled full-time and two are enrolled part-time in ELI’s 2014-2015 academic program that begins with North Central’s fall term, Pope says. Courses will focus on reading, writing, speaking and listening skills and introducing students to cultural amenities in the Chicago area. Fall 2014 students represent China, Colombia, Cyprus, India, Saudi Arabia and the United States.

Additionally, ELI operated a camp designed to introduce high school-aged international students to cultural destinations in the region. The noncredit option was offered to supplement the College’s more intensive academic summer programming, Pope says.

“We created summer programming that is more academically rigorous than the Summer Language Institute we offered in the past,” Pope says. “The summer ELI camp was a fun outlet that also serves to recruit future North Central students.”

Twenty-five total students were enrolled in ELI summer programs, including the noncredit camp.