There are so many great reasons to study English in a U.S. summer program. Here are the top five:
- You will learn about yourself
The best way to understand yourself, your country, and your own values is to immerse yourself among other cultures and people. Only then will you be able to begin to distinguish the differences. This is easy to do in the USA. Every year hundreds of thousands of students from almost every country in the world choose to study in the States. These students, plus other immigrants who move to the USA, make the United States a fascinating and exciting mixture of languages, cultures, and people.
- You can prepare for regular study at a college or university
If you haven’t made a decision yet about your future college or university, Study in the USA can help you. Many English as a Second Language (ESL) programs give students the chance to study university courses in addition to the program. There is a good opportunity to learn more about U.S. university classroom culture and discover what campus life is really like.
Some programs are designed for a specific group of people with specific needs. For example, there are programs for international students who plan to study at a U.S. university or college. Such programs include library orientation, study skills, and research techniques. Other programs may include English for Tourism or Business English. Even if you already have the required TOEFL® score for academic admission to a U.S. university, it is a good idea to spend some time polishing your English skills in an intensive English language program. It will help you become accustomed to the sound of Americans and adjust to cultural and academic differences.
- You have access to more colleges and universities than any other country in the world
The USA has over 3,500 accredited colleges and universities, including two-year colleges, four-year institutions, and doctoral/research universities. Although some international students are familiar with many of the elite universities in the USA, most students are very happy to discover that there are literally thousands of excellent schools that provide quality, affordable education that meets their needs.
- You can travel through one of the most geographically diverse countries in the world
The USA has it all—oceans, lakes, mountains, deserts, plains, outstanding national parks, small towns and large cities. Regardless of where you live and study, you can take a break on weekends and enjoy other parts of the United States.
- You can gain broader understanding of the USA, making you a stronger candidate in an international job market
Most employers are very impressed with applicants who have lived and studied abroad. Such an experience provides a valuable education and insight. You will be seen as more knowledgeable and globally minded than other applicants. Furthermore, by choosing the USA, you will have studied in one of the world’s largest and most influential economies.
Tips for Success:
- Choose the right program for YOU
There are many things to think about when choosing which college or university to attend. Cost, of course, is always one of the main factors to consider. Verify what is included in the program fees and tuition listed in an advertisement or on a website. Some programs include field trips and excursions in the costs, while others add them as extra charges. Always remember that the term “optional” means it will cost you more for those services. Service is also very important because it says a lot about how the institution treats its students. Are the contacts you interact with at the institution pleasant? Does the institution respond quickly to your questions and concerns, or do you have to wait a long time for answers? Are services provided to help you get adjusted to life in the USA (airport pick up, links to students from your home country, orientation, etc.)? Academic reputation and environment are also crucial. Are the class sizes small? Do national associations recognize the program? Are the teachers experienced? How long has the program been serving students?
- Study hard, but enjoy your experience
Class work is obviously fundamental for academic success. But, just as valuable is the time that you spend outside of class. You may not remember the content of some of your classes, but you will remember the friends that you make and the relationships you develop. Clubs and organizations at your college or university give you a great chance to practice your language skills, while at the same time making friends with American and international students. Outings and excursions will help you learn more about the culture and enjoy your experience even more. Travel if you have the opportunity. If you can, try to arrange time either before or after your summer program so that you can travel and visit other regions and U.S. states.
- Play it “safe”
Is the USA a safe place to study? Absolutely. The USA is one of the safest places in the world. All students want to study in a safe environment and this is even more important to parents. Including this in you and your parents’ decision making is completely normal and responsible. Take confidence in the fact that this is also of prime importance to every college and university. They want to ensure that all their students are safe. A very, very small number of the millions of international students who have studied in the America have ever had problems with safety. As long as students follow the common sense instructions given to all students, both U.S. and international, there should be nothing unusual for you or your parents to worry about.
There are a number of professional organizations that set standards regarding teaching methods and student services. Intensive English language programs administered by accredited colleges and universities are invited to join the Consortium of University and College Intensive English Programs (UCIEP). Compliance with the highest college and university standards is ensured through UCIEP conferences, workshops and regular program-wide evaluations.
Another way to identify programs with high standards is to choose schools that are members of the American Association of Intensive English Programs (AAIEP). This organization was established for the sole purpose of setting standards for intensive English language programs. While AAIEP does not accredit programs, its members agree to follow standards of excellence established by the organization.
Finding an accredited English language program
The Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA) is a specialized agency for the accreditation of English language programs and institutions in the United States. CEA accredits both English language programs in universities and colleges, as well as independent English language schools. Accreditation by CEA means that an English language program has met the CEA Standards for English Language Programs and Institutions. Programs that seek CEA accreditation must offer an intensive English program for non-native speakers of English, which meets at least 18 hours a week for at least eight months a year.
Because CEA is a relatively new agency and due to the rigorous review process of schools may take months to complete, many programs have not yet completed the process to become accredited. Accredited programs may also indicate their CEA accreditation in their brochures, student packets, and advertisements. You can contact CEA directly:
Commission on English Language
700 S. Washington St., Suite 200
Alexandria, VA 22314 USA
Many of the programs listed in Study in the USA® magazines and on Studyusa.com indicate their CEA accreditation.