Faculty, staff and alumni change lives through UNT’s Intensive English Language Institute. The IELI program, celebrating its 35th year, helps first-year international students improve their proficiency in English by offering eight-week courses throughout the year. Each course serves students from 25 to 30 countries.
“We help students with more than just learning the English language,” says Fernando Fleurquin, the program’s director. “We help them develop new cross-cultural communication skills and improve their academic and professional skills so that they can return to their countries and get a job or continue studying.”
UNT’s program is one of the 10 largest accredited intensive English language programs in the nation.
Two IELI programs that depend on volunteers are Conversation Partners, providing a relaxed environment for IELI students to practice speaking English, and Peer Assistance and Leadership, pairing experienced IELI students with new students.
“PAL volunteers help our students transition to campus life and American culture,” says Amber Hallberg, student services coordinator for IELI. “They are some of the first friends students make.”
About 70 percent of international students are first admitted to UNT conditionally, having to meet English proficiency requirements before full admission. That makes the program crucial, Fleurquin says.
“And when these students see someone like themselves who has already succeeded in the program,” he says, “it’s more effective.”
For more information about the programs, contact Amber Hallberg at firstname.lastname@example.org or 940-565-4127.