Last week, the U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama promoted global education at a Stanford lecture in Beijing, highlighting the importance of studying abroad to gain a better understanding of countries’ interdependence. International cooperation often leads to groundbreaking technological or medical discoveries, which benefits all parties involved. These partnerships are set to grow further as more universities cater for international students with special programs and pathway courses.

More universities are also opening campuses abroad, such as the Stanford Center at Peking University. Back in the U.S., all the best universities offer English language programs to international students that are tailored to their objectives. As this report points out, the number of ESL students in the U.S. has been increasing since 2010, and these intensive programs have truly become a viable option for international students who want to pursue their studies abroad.

Pic: Graduation at Penn State University

As the most widely spoken language in the world, English continues to open many doors and offer many opportunities. It has become the primary language in most sectors including business, science, and information technology. For Lynda Mermell, director of the English Language Center at Towson University, there’s no doubt that international students benefit from English language programs.

“Whether a student is interested in entering an American university, obtaining a better job, or simply opening up options for communication in an ever expanding global society, learning English provides countless benefits,” she says.

Studies have demonstrated the difference immersion makes when learning a language, as opposed to strict classroom time. The option to enrol in English as a Second Language programs (ESL) at U.S. universities combines the benefits of small group tuition in classroom settings with immersion in another culture.

Pic: Students on campus at Liberty University

US universities offer a variety of English language programs for international students. Students can choose between short intensive courses aimed at developing English proficiency as quickly as possible; longer programs that emphasize conversation and immersion; or courses designed specifically to help students achieve the highest TOEFL exam score possible. Programs are also structured so that no matter what their standard of English, international students can begin learning English at a level that suits their abilities and needs.

As Mermell points out, some programs “focus on grammar and listening based courses.” This might be ideal for some students, but others may look for more interactive courses with the opportunity to participate in discussions and analyse ideas.

Pic: Sports at the University of Central Missouri

International students who go to the U.S. to practice and improve their English will be a step ahead of their counterparts who stay at home; and will gain not only the language skills but the personal development that comes with living in another country and culture.

Once these students have learned English, they can also learn how to teach it. There are a number of programs that give students the skills needed to teach English as a foreign language, allowing them to teach the next generation of students how to speak the language. These courses can be taken online, so students can learn how to teach in their spare time as they pursue other academic ventures. There is even a Teaching English as a Foreign Language Master’s Degree available online, which provides flexibility to those who want to make teaching English their career. Visit this site for more information.

In light of this, here are some great programs for international students in the U.S.:

CENTER FOR ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE – SOUTHERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY
Southern Illinois University (SIU) is a state university based in Carbondale, Illinois in the U.S. SIU is a relatively small institution which welcomes just over 20,000 students, providing a welcoming environment where many international students choose to improve their English before going to university. The Center for English as a Second Language (CESL) has been running successful English programs teaching international students from around the world since 1966. Class sizes are kept to a minimum so that all pupils benefit from individual attention from experienced tutors. Read the full profile here…

ENGLISH LANGUAGE CENTER – UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL MISSOURI
The University of Central Missouri (UCM) is a residential campus with nearly 13,000 students. UCM has consistently been named as a Best Regional University by US News & World Report. With over 1,400 international students and approximately 30 international faculty members, UCM is a globally engaged campus that fosters a worldly perspective in its students. Placing a strong emphasis on applied learning and future-focused academics, UCM offers students a rich environment in which to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to excel in a globally competitive marketplace. Read the full profile here…

INTENSIVE ENGLISH COMMUNICATION CENTER – PENN STATE UNIVERSITY 
Pennsylvania State University, known as Penn State, is a public, state-related U.S. research university founded in 1855. The quality of education at Penn State is such that it has been compared to the Ivy Leagues universities, although it is publicly funded. University Park is the main campus and welcomes more than 45,000 graduate and undergraduate students from around the world, making Penn State one of the largest universities in the US. It has been offering an Intensive English Communication Program (IECP) to international students since 1976. Read the full profile here…

Pic: Student at UMass Boston

ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE – UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS BOSTON
The University of Massachusetts (UMass) Boston is a public university set in a scenic waterfront campus close to downtown Boston. UMass Boston combines a small college experience with the vast resources of a major research university. More than 16,000 undergraduate and graduate students attend UMass Boston, whose academic excellence attracts people from all over the world. UMass Boston offers English as a Second Language Programs through the College of Advancing and Personal Studies to international students who wish to improve their communication skills. A range of courses are available, depending on students’ goals and levels. Read the full profile here…

ENGLISH LANGUAGE CENTER – TOWSON UNIVERSITY
Towson University was founded in 1866 and is today recognized as one of the U.S.’ best regional public universities. It offers more than 100 bachelors, masters and doctoral degree programs in the liberal arts and sciences, and applied professional fields. Located in Towson, eight miles north of Baltimore, the University is located in a beautiful landscaped campus which offers a great study environment. The English Language Center (ELC) at the University welcomes international students who want to perfect their English to enter a U.S. university or who want to learn for employment purposes. Read the full profile here… 

ENGLISH LANGUAGE INSTITUTE – LIBERTY UNIVERSITY
Liberty University is the largest private, non-profit university in the U.S. and the largest Christian university in the world. The 7000-acre campus sits on the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Lynchburg, Virginia. Founded in 1971, Liberty University has a unique heritage with its academic programs committed to Training Champions for Christ. More than 1000 international students from 70 countries currently study at Liberty, creating a diverse environment in a welcoming community. The institution is honoured to have a Christian foundation, which helps students learn, grow and belong. Read the full profile here…