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Finding the Best ESL Program in the U.S. for You

Our speakers are Ms. Sarah Moran and Ms. Ellen Wang, from the Foundation for Scholarly Exchange (FSE).

Finding the Best ESL Program in the U.S. for You
Friday, March 25 2005 (2:00 PM - 4:00 PM)

Please note: Portions of this transcript have been edited for clarity

Host: (Sarah Moran):

Hi, my name is Sarah. I am from Arizona and am an education advisor at the foundation for scholarly exchange (FSE). I look forward to answering your questions.

 

Host: (Ellen Wang)

Hi everyone, I am the educational advisor of Foundation for Scholarly Exchange. I would love to help to answer any edu question.


Start of Chat


 

Host: (Ellen Wang)
Q
I am a high school student. I want to study English in America. Is it hard to get in?
A
For the ESL (English as second language) program, it is not hard at all to get in. All you need to do is to summit the application form and choose the time. You don't even need any test scores like TOEFL. (2005-03-25 14:24)
 
Host: (Sarah Moran)
Q
我可以住在那裡?各有什麼優缺點?
A
There are many ESL programs, which are located in every U.S. state. Each state's cost of living is different and some places are more expensive than others. So it is important to determine first where you would ideally like to go, how much you can afford to pay and then look at your options. Some programs have dormitories, and others have in-home stays where you can reside with a family. If you stay with a family, you have lots of opportunities to improve your English. You can come to our center and we can help you choose the best ESL program for you. (2005-03-25 14:29)
 
Host: (Ellen Wang)
Q
How about the program at a university like UCLA?
A
The ESL programs based in Univ. campus are usually good. I myself joined the UCLA program in 2000. It was a wonderful experience. The program provides the intensive training of speaking, reading, listening, and writing. (2005-03-25 14:30)
 
Host: (Sarah Moran)
Q
How do I choose an ESL program?
A
First, check if the program places students in differing levels in each area (reading, speaking, etc...) Second, check the levels of English classes offered. If there are only three levels, then the chance is that you might end up with classmates who are a lot lower than your level and end up wasting your time. Third: It is very important to know what your goal is, for example…getting good TOEFL scores, GRE, etc., entrance into graduate school in the U.S... So, check if the program offers a variety of courses to target the goal. (2005-03-25 14:31)
 
Host: (Ellen Wang)
Q
請問在美國唸 ESL 及在台灣唸英文的差別有什麼?不知顧問覺得花那麼多錢到美國,有什麼好處呢?
A
學習語言如果能在美國學英文當然能夠提供你最好的語言環境讓你徹底的活在英文的環境哩,當然對於想要把英文練習好的你來說相當有幫助。反觀於台灣英語教學的方式側重於考試技巧以及背頌比較起來,是沒有在美國學習英文來得有生動活潑。而到美國學習英文不只是讓自己完全活在英語的世界哩,更能浸潤在多元豐富的美國文化中,並且可以有很多機會認識來自世界各地的國際學生,這些都是相當難得的學習機會。 (2005-03-25 14:38)
 
Host: (Sarah Moran)
Q
What tests are there for measuring English Skills?
A
TOEFL- (The Test of English as a Foreign language) = 4 hour listening, writing, reading comprehension test…. Format just changed so make sure you go to ETS at http://www.ets.org/toefl/ to get the correct information on how to study and where to take the test. The new test should be out September in Taiwan. The next generation TOEFL test is unique because it is the only large-scale, standardized test that will integrate, or combine, four basic communication skills. For example, a test taker might read a passage of text and listen to a lecture, and then write or speak about it in response. Generally the majority of universities require a minimum TOEFL score Of 190-220 on the computer based test; 520-560 on the paper based test; a smaller number look for high scores, but rarely above 205 (computer) or 600 (paper) for admission. TOEIC= (Test of English for International Communication)…. This is used in the business world- a world of listening and reading comprehension. This test consists of approximately 200 multiple choice questions, and takes about 2 hours to complete. Scores: 805-990= high advanced; 655-804=advanced; 555-654= high intermediate; 505-554=Intermediate; 405-504=Low Intermediate; 305-404=high beginner. There is also the TSE Test. (The Test of Spoken English), = 20 minute test designed to evaluate the ability to communicate in spoken English. Administered by ETS You can find the best up to date information on English Language tests by going to www.ets.org. (2005-03-25 14:39)
 
Host: (Ellen Wang)
Q
How do I select the right English Language Program to prepare myself effectively for going to a university in the U.S.?
A
Assess how strong your language skills are. Take the TOEFL and know that most universities require the TOEFL score to be between 550 and 610 for admission. ETS, the company that created TOEFL, estimates that you can increase your TOEFL score by 40 points for every 300 hours of intensive English study. (2005-03-25 14:41)
 
Host: (Sarah Moran)
Q
Is it only for the summer? Or I can go in September?
A
ESL programs are offered year round. If you choose to go to a university, you can go for a semester too. It helps if you ask yourself the following questions: (A) Does the program hire native or near-native speakers of American English as teachers? If your ultimate goal is to study in the U.S.- it is better to learn from native speakers of English. Do instructors have certificates, or M.A. degrees in English, or ESL or linguistics? (B) Does the program emphasize building real communication skills, as opposed to only teaching grammar? While grammar is important, it is very important that you find a program that will focus on using English, not just studying it. (C) Does the program emphasize academic English, which is what you will need to study for a degree in the United States? A conversational English program is appropriate for some needs, but NOT for academic demands of an American university. (D) Does the program use TOEFL or some other standardized test to measure your progress and English proficiency? This provides an objective way to measure your progress. (E) Does the program provide college and university admissions guidelines? Many English Language Programs can assist you with your ultimate goal of getting into a university. Assistance depends on the program, could be an admissions guidance office, admissions guidance offered as part of the course, or an additional fee based service. (F) Does the program also provide TOEFL preparation, and, perhaps, preparation for other standard university entrance exams? If you need help to prepare for your exams, such as GMAT or LSAT or GRE…, you should find an English language program that will offer the additional test preparation you need. If you ask these questions to yourself, you will be able to determine which program is best for you. And if you come to our office, we can help you find it. (2005-03-25 14:45)
 
Host: (Ellen Wang)
Q
Does the program hire native or near-native speakers of American English as teachers?
A
Yes, ESL programs mostly hire teachers with TESOL degree. (2005-03-25 14:45)
 
Host: (Sarah Moran)
Q
How long do you think I should study ESL in the U.S. in order to benefit the most? Three months? One year?
A
It depends on your current level of English, and the time you can spend studying english. There are programs that are only 3 weeks long, all the way to semester long programs, even programs where you can study English for a year. (2005-03-25 14:50)
 
Host: (Sarah Moran)
Q
I want to know if there is any difference between university program and private program near my friend's home in Boston?
A
I'm sorry, I do not the know specifics of that particular area, but I can tell you that some University based English programs you can take some classes at the university to help you learn English, but you will not be able to receive credit. Private program vary accordingly. Probably the biggest differences are the dorm system and that ability to sit in on university classes, with permission from the professor of course. If the ESL program is based on a university campus, the ESL student can use all services that university students can use too. And you will be able to meet more Americans too at a University. There are so many different private programs too, so you will have to do your homework to find out which is best for you. (2005-03-25 14:53)
 
Host: (Sarah Moran)
Q
Can ESL student work on campus?
A
If you have an F-1 visa and are a full time ESL student you can work. (2005-03-25 15:04)
 
Host: (Ellen Wang)
Q
Is university ESL program more expensive than private program?
A
It is hard to say. It depends the length of program you are going to participate. (2005-03-25 15:05)
 
Host: (Sarah Moran)
Q
Can I get credit from university for ESL course?
A
In general you cannot get any credit for ESL courses, but if your school in Taiwan has an agreement with the university in the U.S., then maybe you can get credit. But in general, I would have to say no. (2005-03-25 15:12)
 
Host: (Ellen Wang)
Q
請問可以用電話諮詢嗎?
A
當然可以,請打諮詢電話(02)2332-8188會有顧問為你解答關於留/遊學的事項,或是到學術交流基金會的留學資料圖書館,你將可以找到更多豐富的美國教育資料。學術交流基金會的地址是 : 台北市泉州街1-a號 (南海路上,建國中學旁) 或是連上網站www.ustudy.org.tw 你也可以免費從線上獲得豐富的留學資料。 (2005-03-25 15:19)
 
Host: (Ellen Wang)
Q
請問你們有代辦ESL的服務嗎?
A
我們沒有為任何學生代為辦理申請遊學或是留學的業務,其實一切的申請都不困難,你絕對有能力自行完成申請過程,若是過程中有任何的問題或是需要協助的地方,學術交流基金會都非常樂意輔導學生。或者是連上網站www.ustudy.org.tw的線上申請語言學校,上面有八十餘間的語言課程介紹,你可以透過網頁比較各式各樣不同課程長短/費用高低/課程內容......等等,你就可以又快又有效的完成註冊手續。 (2005-03-25 15:28)
 
Host: (Sarah Moran)
Q
How can I make a decision between so many language centers? I mean, they look so similar. Actually, I am considering among ELC in Boston and some university English program there but I don't know how to choose one.
A
First what is your goal of going to an ESL program? To get into graduate school?, improve your business english? Well it depends then on what you are looking for. At the private center I would check to see if there are other Americans around or are you going to be mostly spending time with other international students? At the university based English program, you will have access to university facilities that all students can go to, and you may be able to sit in on a few classes. And meet more Americans. And also it is important to see what English classes are offered. The more levels offered the better chance you will have of being placed into your level. As well as makeing sure the teachers have degrees in TESOL. Private schools should meet the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA standarads) for English language programs. CEA Standards. You can check out whether a private English center meets the standards of the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation at www.cea-accredit.org. (2005-03-25 15:30)


End of Chat


 

 

Host: (Sarah Moran)

Thank you for participating in our webchat. If you need any help to study in the United States, you can come to our library, read our website at www.ustudy.org.tw, or get one-to-one free advising in our library.

 

Host: (Ellen Wang)

很高興今天可以回答有興趣前往美國遊學的學生問題,遊學的經驗雖然所費不低,但是參加語言學校的經驗,讓許多人都有了一段在美國快樂學習與認識國際朋友的美好經驗。如果你正在考慮今年暑假是否前往美國遊學,相信透過今天的解釋會讓你更容易的為自己做下好的決定,我們鼓勵有意前往美國遊學的學生,敞開胸懷盡情學習。無論今年夏天你是在Boston(波士頓)一邊大啖龍蝦一邊學習英文,或是呼朋引伴的和日本.韓國或是土耳其的....各國國際學生一起在SF(舊金山)旅行,你的英文能力都已在無形中有了很大的進步。祝福你的英語學習,突飛猛進! 歡迎你到美國接受最棒最精采的英語教學課程。有更多的問題,歡迎你與學術交流基金會聯繫。