Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

FORGING A PATH TO FLUENCY ; International Students Taught by Intense Classes, Each Other

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

FORGING A PATH TO FLUENCY ; International Students Taught by Intense Classes, Each Other

Article excerpt

When Fasal Alyami came to the University of Southern Indiana from Saudi Arabia to study business administration, he didn't know any English. He studied for one year and three months in USI's Intensive English Program, gaining the skills necessary for him to begin taking classes for his major at the university. "It's perfect," Alyami said. "(The program) is working hard for us, and we learn a lot everyday. The first time I got here, because of the different culture and different languages was a challenge, but they worked hard with us and tried to help us a lot and we're thankful for that."

Alyami is one of 58 students enrolled in the Intensive English Program at USI. International students are typically conditionally admitted to USI, which means they must complete the program before they can take classes at the university.

Students take between 21-23 credit hours, all focusing on learning the English language and grammar.

"We're trying to prepare the students who come here from all over the world to transition and be academically ready to start classes in whatever major they choose," said Intensive English Program Director Emilijia Zlatkovska.

When students enroll in the program, they must take a placement test, which helps classify them as a level between one and six; one indicating the student has very little knowledge of the English language, and six indicating they have an adequate grasp of it.

Students focus on listening and speaking, reading and writing skills and grammar.

"(The program) isn't intended to get the international students to the level of a native speaker, but to get them to a level where they're successful in academic programs,"

Zlatkovska said. "And the learning of the language never stops."

Before establishing the program, the university contracted the private company English as a Second Language International (ESLI).

"(The university) was hoping for better communication and holding this program to the standard that is expected of the university," Zlatkovska said.

Under the new program, professors push students harder to learn the material so they have a better chance at success. …

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