Student Testimonials

“I took Written Communication: Standards and Conventions because I was not confident in my writing skills and I wanted to improve. I learned the rules of writing, how to write a paper, and what the professors want. International students should take this class because they have to learn a totally different writing system.”


Masters student

“I was always nervous about talking in English especially in those situations requiring unplanned speech. Now after taking Spoken Communication: Fluency Building, I feel much more confident by the skills learnt in this class. In this course, all levels of English speakers are engaged because of the professional guidance as well as the relaxed atmosphere. So it is quite a helpful class!”


Non-degree visiting scholar

“I took Written Communication: Standards and Conventions because I wanted to improve and standardize my writing skills. The most useful part of this course was writing summaries and paraphrasing, and knowing your purpose and audience. I recommend this course for everyone, especially for students who are going to write thesis or take a written prelim exam.”


PhD student

“The Teaching English as an Additional Language (TEAL) class not only helped me get a job I really enjoy, it also helps me to perform well at that job, and made me aware of the best next steps to take to become an even better English teacher. I absolutely love teaching English abroad and I’m super grateful to my instructor and the class for all of the support I received preparing for this journey and along the way. I wouldn’t have been ready without it!”


College student

“I took Spoken Communication: Academic Presentations because, for my future career, it is extremely important to be able to communicate in a proper and interesting way. I learned how to use my voice when speaking, the best body language for presentations, and how to best design PowerPoint, among other things. I think with this class, students will gain more confidence in their own communication and presentation skills. I’m glad I now have these skills on my CV!”



“In the Academic English Pre-Matriculation Program (AEPP), the most important takeaway for me was meeting my friends of the “Hyde Park Gang”. The Hyde Park Gang is a group of friends that we made during the AEPP. Although we are from different divisions, since that summer, we have met each other at least two times a week. We adopted that name because we all live close in Hyde Park, and we founded our group influenced by stories of gangs in Chicago. But do not take me wrong, the most dangerous characteristic of our gang is that we hope maybe to win a Nobel Prize in the future!”



“I enrolled in the Academic English Pre-Matriculation Program: Writing because because I thought this is a great opportunity to learn North American academic writing, and it did really help me a lot. My instructor is very patient and thoughtful. He explained topics like controlling claims, sentence boundaries, and even networking etiquette. In addition, we even had outdoor excursion, which was a great way to get to know Chicago and your cohort! Lastly, thanks every instructor and staff member in the AEPP for providing such a fun and warm place for us to learn and have fun!”



Masters student

I took Spoken Communication: Conversation in Context because I wanted to find ways to communicate better and to think more like an American in order to be better understood. My instructor was wonderful and always had an answer for my questions; if you follow his advice, you will be very happy with the results. I definitely feel more confident after taking this class.”


Lecturer, Romance Languages

“I attended Conversation Hour in the Spring, which gave me ample opportunities to practice English. The ELI plays a key role in making UChicago an inclusive community that values multicultural and multidisciplinary backgrounds. I would like all the future participants to know and be proud of the fact that their attendance itself is an enriching factor to the university”


Masters Student

“I took Written Communication: Crafting Varied and Impactful Sentences because I am a researcher and academic writing constitutes the most important part of my academic life. I now feel more comfortable and confident to write and manipulate an English sentence, demonstrated by my improved writing and self-editing capability. An example is that one of my recent research papers was accepted without any English language revision. An international student who wants to improve his/her academic writing is highly recommended to take this course.”



“When I first came to the US, I was very shy and nervous about speaking English. However, with constant practice at ELI’s courses and extracurricular activities, I am more fluent and confident. A new friend even thinks I am a native speaker (though I must say this is an overstatement).”


Masters Student

“The activities hosted by ELI are a great opportunity to make friends. My favorite extracurricular activity is Conversation Hour. I was so impressed by the instructor’s lectures. She arranges a safe space for every attendee to practice English and learn about American culture. Surviving in foreign countries is tough, so international students like me should take full advantage of the resources offered by the University of Chicago.”


Masters Student

Board Game Group helps me improve my English by participating in role playing games. In the whole process we need to do tons of reading (of instructions), listening, and talking. It helps me practice my English outside class, makes me more confident when speaking English in daily life, is a break from studying, and most importantly, is a chance to have fun with friends. I definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to improve their English while having a good time.”


Masters Student

“I took Spoken Communication: Conversation on Context because it is important to communicate well, especially in job interviews. You want employers to feel comfortable with you. I loved learning concepts like bluffing, which is more difficult for international students to do. You’re using other parts of your brain. Other students should take this class because of all the practice it gives you with a professor who is an expert in speaking. At the end of the day, if you want to stay in the U.S. and work, it is important to have excellent communication skills.”


M.S '18

“I decided to take Spoken Communication: Fluency Building because it was my first time living abroad and I was not comfortable with my speaking. The course along with the interaction with other students helped me gain confidence to learn new and useful expressions. Each class is different, which will make you practice and learn even more.”



“I took Written Communication: Standards and Conventions because UChicago’s instructors and  professors always emphasize that academic writing is important for every social science student. Knowing and even mastering at the standards is the foundation of it. The class is useful and helpful. I barely make mistakes on citation formats now. Even if sometimes I am not sure about it, the documents provided by ELI, which are clear and thorough, help me to remember everything.”


Masters student

“I took the Written Communication: Crafting Varied and Impactful Sentences course because I wanted to improve my academic writing. This course has helped me to identify some frequent grammatical errors I tend to make. It provided me tools to make better word choices, to manage information flow within a sentence, and to tighten and clarify long sentences. I recommend this course to all international students who want to improve their English writing and editing skills.”


PhD student

I took Spoken Communication: General American Pronunciation because I think proper pronunciation helps others to understand you more clearly. I learned a wide range of basic skills of pronunciation, and realized the importance of knowing my voice quality objectively through group work and voice recordings. These were quite useful to improve my pronunciation and even listening skills. Pronunciation would constitute a definitely important aspect of communication in terms of speaking and listening, and international students should take this class for better communication.”



“I took the Academic English Pre-Matriculation Program: Speaking because I was worried about my English before coming to UChicago. And I definitely made the right decision! My English was improved not only by gaining more language learning skills, but also by being more confident and more willing to express myself and learning from others. My instructor was always patient and open to all my questions and suggestions. I also want to say ‘thank you’ for my dearest classmates for always supporting me and encouraging me for everything. We are now very close friends and I know they will be always with me.”


Masters Student

“I took the Academic English Pre-Matriculation Program as a requirement for my graduate program. However, I not only found it useful, but also very interesting in regards to what you can learn about Chicago and its neighborhoods. Christine is a very fun instructor! Classes were both open discussions on social issues, such as segregation in Chicago, and tips on English grammar and pronunciation. Some other important aspects covered were learning about health system in US and how to navigate in UChicago. I think that the AEPP has an interesting feature for everyone from networking to history.”


PhD student

I took Spoken Communication: Academic Presentations because after giving and attending some academic presentations, I could see differences between native English speakers and my own way of presenting. The top things I learned were tips to emphasize important points such as pausing, stress, and intonation, which are not commonly used in my mother tongue. Other students should take this course because what you learn in this course can be applied not only to your presentations but also to talks in general contexts, especially in formal situations.”



I took Spoken Communication: Fluency Building because I want to better understand people when they are talking and know how to answer questions in a proper way. My instructor shared with us a lot of useful skills in English speaking, I met a lot of friends there, and I enjoyed myself very much. If you are new to UChicago and want to learn local English, you should come and take this interesting course.”



Spoken Communication: Conversation in Context is valuable because it made me realize some of the implicit information that we do not always pay attention to. Sometimes it is hard to give appropriate responses in a conversation without clear explanation about the underlying culture. Be sure to participate actively and bring your English/culture questions to the class. You will be able to gain a lot from it.”


Masters Student

Intensive Academic English Fundamentals is highly recommended for those whose English proficiency is at a restricted level but want to improve within a limited period of time. The course has been carefully designed to help you reach your goal.”



“Although my English was “good,” I decided to join the Academic English Pre-Matriculation Program: Speaking anyway, simply because there is always room for improvement. Even if you think your English is good enough, you can still learn to speak and write more academically, or better your presentation skills. I feel like my flow has improved. More importantly, I think in English better. If you want to be a fluent speaker, you must learn to think in it.”


Masters Student

Reading Group has improved my English ability, especially my reading speed and ability to explain things objectively. The selected books encouraged me to continue reading and I learned some nuances between words that native English speakers might feel when they read the same text. Board Game Group helped develop my strategic thinking in English. I could practice bluffing and negotiating skills in English. Compared with usual English classes, these activities provide opportunities to practice practical communication skills in a casual and friendly atmosphere.”



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