Since 2013, the number of international students coming to the United States (US) seeking a quality education has grown according to the Migration Policy Institute. It’s reported that approximately 4.1 million international students are enrolled in US colleges. It further reports that many international students are drawn to the US’ higher education system because of its friendly culture and the hopes of landing a job in the country after they have graduated.
One Thing All US International Students Have in Common
No matter what academic area of interest each student chooses to pursue, there’s one particular subject that almost every international student has in common and that’s learning English as a Second Language (ESL).
In order join the labor market in the US, it’s imperative that job applicants learn to speak, write, and comprehend the English language since it is the primary language spoken in America.
ESL Courses Offered in South Florida
Florida National University (FNU), a regionally accredited university located in the South Florida area, offers three levels of ESL programs starting with the basic, intermediate, and high intermediate level. Students have the option of taking all three levels. However, all students will be required to take a placement test to determine their level of proficiency. It might only be necessary to take the high intermediate level or just start off with an intermediate course.
Ariel Oquendo, Professor and Department Head of the English as a Second Language Department at the Hialeah Campus, states that FNU’s ESL department teaches a large population of students from different parts of the world like Korea, Vietnam, Cuba, and Venezuela.
“Our program offers a great opportunity for students who want to learn English as a second language,” Professor Oquendo said.
Oquendo doesn’t see any issue with teaching the English language to students from various geographical backgrounds
“We try to work with all of these different cultures in the same way, and teach them as much as we can.” He said.
What’s Expected from FNU ESL Students
Learning an entirely different language takes a certain level of commitment. You must not only prepare to learn the lessons, but also apply the teachings to your everyday life. Learning with students from different cultural backgrounds is actually a positive advantage because this will encourage you to communicate with one another in English as it will be the common language.
Learn in a Friendly Environment
FNU strives to create a warm and friendly environment for all of our students. Our ESL students especially find our campus culture welcoming, and that might be due to our location. We have two campuses located in Hialeah, Florida and our second campus is in Miami. With Miami being one of the highest populations for South American and Caribbean immigrants, the diversity and culture surrounding our campuses tend to make many of our international students feel like FNU is their home away from home!
“When you come here, you see that everything is different…people are so welcoming and everybody takes care of you,” FNU ESL Student Saidy Elalam said. “It’s nice to see that what you’re learning here is what you’re applying in your life. You can feel more secure about developing your life in a good way.”
Let’s take a look at the three levels of FNU courses:
English as a Second Language Basic Level
The basic level is designed to help students become comfortable with holding a general conversation in English. You’ll start off by understanding the four language areas:
All of the ESL courses are 8-months, 18 credit hour program.
The first level splits the basic teachings of speaking, reading, and writing in 1-4 sub-levels and then using those fundamentals to build structural language patterns for the remaining 9 hours. Graduates of this program will be eligible to enroll in the intermediate ESL program.
English as a Second Language Intermediate Level
Now that you’re able to hold a basic conversation in English and understand structural patterns, the second level will build on that in a more advanced way. You’ll strengthen your knowledge of the English language and start learning how to read and write about common topics that are relevant to today’s society and culture. Courses like Composition for Social Use, Conversation for Everyday Living, and Authentic English in Context for Conversation will quickly advance you to the high intermediate level and will also make you eligible to enroll in one of our career programs.
English as a Second Language High Intermediate Level
To be eligible to enroll in this course, you will have needed to score at a satisfactory level on your placement test or complete the ESL Intermediate Level.
In this advanced 18 credit-hour course, you’ll have the opportunity to increase your English vocabulary. You’ll be challenged to mange more complex grammatical sentence structures verbally as well as compositionally. You’ll be challenged to branch out and understand the techniques of public speaking and idioms in context. Lastly, you’ll also exercise your English communication skills by reading and speaking about real-life stories.
“We try to prepare our students for the future—we try to provide them with a huge knowledge of mastering the language,” Professor Oquendo said.
All three levels of FNU’s ESL courses are designed to help students successfully pass their college courses. It is imperative that US college students, no matter their cultural origin is able to understand the English language. The better you’re able to master the English language, the better you’ll be at passing your college courses, and the better you’ll be as a professional.
Contact an FNU advisor to take your ESL placement exam today!