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ELS Center raises CCU’s international profile

This past spring, an ELS (English as a Second Language) Center opened in Kearns Hall to provide English language instruction for non-native speakers at CCU and from the surrounding area. A program of the Berlitz Learning System company, the ELS Center at CCU focuses on English for Academic Purposes (EAP), offering instruction in academic vocabulary and learning skills for the University. The Coastal ELS location is the first and the only center in the region with a curriculum designed to help non-native speaking students gain the English they need to function in a university setting.

Students learn to take notes, write research papers and complete other tasks in the English language relating to college work, according to center director Susan Harrell. “Students who have all the other requirements for acceptance at CCU but whose English is inadequate may enroll in the ELS program and sign a Conditional Letter of Acceptance, or CLA,” says Harrell. “As soon as they complete the program, they can be fully enrolled at CCU, and they won’t be required to take the TOEFL [Test of English as a Foreign Language].”

Approximately 20 students are taking classes in the ELS Center now, nearly half of whom are Chinese students enrolled in the Sino-American 1+2+1 program. This unique dual degree program allows Chinese students to earn degrees at their home institution in China as well as from CCU. 

Classes are offered in four-week sessions, according to Harrell, with a total of 13 sessions a year. Since the office opened last spring, students from 14 different nations have studied English at the center, including such countries as Brazil, Gabon, Taiwan, Venezuela, Panama, Moldova, Russia, Vietnam and Mexico.