Program opens doors to English
Posted March 13, 2009
Sherazad Shaikh
In the College Survival class, an ELS course at University of La Verne, students Leyla Bojanini, Hsin-yi Wang, Naoki Kurachi, Hye-min Park, Yeu-Wei Fang and Sultan BinMajed participate in a lecture session in Leo Hall on Tuesday.

Megan Sebestyen
Staff Writer

Coming from another country, another culture and speaking another language, students participating in the University of La Verne’s ELS Language Center become part of the student body at the University.

These students often live in the dorms, eat in Davenport, befriend University students and often transfer to the University after fulfilling their English requirements.

“For the University, it’s a positive thing,” Eugene Shang, associate housing director, said.

Students can either live in the dorms at the University or live with a family in the area.

Most choose to live in the dorms so they can meet more University students and experience living independently.

“I love spending my free time after class in the library,” English major Min Kyung Kim said. “The campus has such a comfortable, safe feel.”

Kim is from South Korea and she plans to stay here for several years.

Her family moved to the U.S. with her while she attended the ELS program and will remain while she continues her education here.

ELS offers four programs for incoming students designed to meet different needs and interest levels which meet for four week sessions.

For students interested in learning English while exploring the area on their own, they can take part in the Semi-Intensive program or Explorer Program that include classes in the morning and afternoons off to sightsee.

The English-Intensive Program prepares students to study at a university in the U.S.

Completion of this course meets the English language requirement required at most universities.

“Most Japanese study English for six years or more, but can’t speak it. They just learn from books and can’t converse,” ELS student and English major Takuya Nomura said. “I came here to speak English and talk to the Americans.”

Nomura is from Japan where he took a year off from school to study abroad.

The La Verne ELS program began in 2005 and has experienced successful growth from the first year when there were about 30 ELS students.

There are currently 92 students in the program.

“A good number of ELS students will tell their family and friends to come and study here,” ELS Registrar Alexandra E. Wong said. “It is common for family members to come based on recommendations.”

Wong said that a great part of the appeal of the University is that the town is quiet and safe so students can focus on their studies.

“In our image my country thinks of America as dangerous,” Nomura said. “My family is worried about me so it’s good that the school and area are very safe.”

“There are many scary places in Los Angeles, but the school is very quiet,”Nomura added.

“I’m really satisfied with this language school,” Kim said. “I recommended it to my friend and now she is here. “

The ELS office also plans on activities for students during each session.

It gives students a chance to meet others involved in the program and includes events like a trip to Disneyland, going out for dinner and visiting an area museum.

“We do have a good number of students from every country so if they get homesick they often meet friends from their home country,” Wong said.

University students can help ELS students during conversation programs which take place 3:45 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. Tuesdays in front of Leo’s Den.

This gives ELS students a chance to practice their conversational English.

Next month University students can also be part of a cultural mentor program.

This pairs university and ELS students to travel to events together and interact for a longer time period.

Volunteers can fill out an application in the ELS office or email for more information.

ELS programs cost between about $1,200 and $1,700 for tuition for each four-week session.

Material and housing costs are separate.

There are nine locations in California that are home to ELS Centers.

The nearest locations are located in San Diego and Santa Monica.

Megan Sebestyen can be reached at

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