Isabelle Ehui. Credit: Kennesaw State University

“When I arrived as an ESL student, the Intensive English Program, the Global Village, and all the staff helped me choose to stay to continue my studies here. I started earning my degree in accounting in the fall.” – Isabelle Ehui, Kennesaw State University

In a world that increasingly breaks down borders and hosts more than 7,000 languages, the benefits of bilingualism are wide-reaching and invaluable.

While various studies have shown that children find it easier to acquire a second language, it’s never too late to start, and with the right guidance students of any age and level of ability can master the English language.

Isabelle Ehui. Credit: Kennesaw State University.

English proficiency can always be developed – all you need to do is scout out the perfect course. But with so many global and prestigious universities offering Intensive English Programs (IEP) of study, you need to check out the university as a whole before settling on a particular course.

“Being a graphic design student, it is crucial for me to have international exposure,” says Umaima Mughal, a Pakistani graphic design student at Kennesaw State University (KSU). She claims that statistics from global ranking bodies were a great help when deciding where to study.

“KSU was chosen by the faculty and administration of my home university in Pakistan because its graphic design program is ranked among the Top 25 in the United States. Furthermore, KSU has an excellent diversity of students not just from all over America, but worldwide as well.”

Umaima Mughal. Credit:Kennesaw State University

In a diverse and culturally rich environment like KSU, students such as Mughal gain crucial international experience as they are exposed to the American lifestyle while engaging with students from around the world.

“Interacting with students from different backgrounds gives me a great opportunity to expand my horizons and gain exposure that is essential for my design education,” Mughal adds. “Staying in the beautiful campuses in Marietta and Kennesaw is in itself a much-needed break for me from Karachi, the busy, over-populated metropolis I belong to.”

It was the school’s prolific credentials combined with its thriving international community that convinced Mughal to opt for a KSU education, but there are many other aspects to consider when deciding upon an institution. A beautiful campus is one thing, but what about the things on offer outside of your studies?

“One of the many great things about KSU is that it is a peaceful place to study,” says Tunisian KSU student Amani Ayari. “The faculty and staff are very helpful and welcoming, especially when they know that I am an exchange student. You will never get bored on campus because there is always something going on: parties, conferences, football games, etc. It has been an interesting journey in America so far.”

Amani Ayari. Credit: Kennesaw State University

The ideal university will provide a setting that is conducive to learning, but also fun and engaging, presenting students with plenty of opportunities to let their hair down and blow off some steam outside of the classroom environment. Other things to check out before deciding on your IEP would be the facilities on offer at the institution; extra-curricular provisions; graduate destinations/employability figures, on top of other vital aspects such as accommodation.

“The apartments are awesome; more comfortable than any place I have ever lived in Brazil,” says KSU international student Lis Souza. “The Commons, where we have our meals, is for sure the place that I will miss most when I get back home.”

So, while KSU provides an excellent setting for learning, it also boasts the facilities, extra-curricular activities and accommodation to make international students’ stay as comfortable and engaged as possible. But what about the IEP course itself?

KSU’s Intensive English Program provides beginning to advanced English classes to prepare international students for university study at prestigious U.S. institutions. The school provides both full- and part-time schedules for this comprehensive program, all of which span the course of eight weeks.

“I chose KSU because the IEP gave me a chance to learn English faster, especially when I speak with native speakers every day,” says Russian IEP student Kirill Vladmimirov. He believes the interaction with his Conversation Partner – a native English speaker with whom he frequently collaborated – greatly improved his conversational fluency. “It gave me the opportunity to communicate with other people and have fun,” he says.

The faculty and staff of KSU’s IEP are dedicated to ensuring the success of each and every student. Every member of the IEP team is exceptionally qualified in his or her speciality. Students who study the English Language through KSU’s IEP receive the highest quality instruction and interaction from the university’s professional and knowledgeable instructors.

International students at Kennesaw State University. Credit: Kennesaw State University

“My experience at Kennesaw State University has been wonderful,” says Penelope Rodreigues de Macedo, a Brazilian IEP student at KSU. “The university has a good program for international students, and they are always trying to engage us in activities that give us opportunities to practice English.

“This experience has been great for me because I get to interact with cultures that I have never seen before. The KSU team is always willing to help and give support when I have doubts about my academic life,” she says. “It is my point of view that the university seems to be really prepared to receive international students because it has a good infrastructure (rooms, accessibility) and provides support for these students during their new academic experience.

“I finished my English course and am now taking undergraduate classes to continue my studies here.”

One thing made clear by the IEP students at KSU is the importance of student experience. Of course, the academics are undeniably important, but it’s vital that international students considering English language tuition overseas do not overlook other factors that combine to make university life worthwhile. Not only do the IEP students at KSU leave with the benefits attached to studying ESL at a top university, they also gain the international, cultural and social experience required to thrive in an increasingly globalised world.

Kennesaw State University is renowned for its entrepreneurial spirit and strong sense of community. Offering campuses in Marietta- which predominantly specializes in STEM programs of study- and Kennesaw- the institution’s esteemed provider of traditional Liberal Arts programs-, the university is located just north of Atlanta and combines a suburban setting with access to one of the country’s most dynamic cities. At KSU’s ESL Center, IEP, undergraduate, and graduate international students can receive tutoring in writing, reading, pronunciation, and presentation skills, as well as receive advice for their general education (core) requirements and mentoring. 

Feature image courtesy of Kennesaw State University