Taste of university life
Universities English Centers offer specialized academic English courses for international students, thus providing the opportunity to adapt to university life and study abroad.
Excellent preparation of students for study abroad contributes to a successful university life. This training includes not only direct language learning, but also work on specific academic skills. To this end, many English-speaking universities have begun to open their own language learning centers and, it should be noted, their number is steadily growing. Maureen Burke of the University of Iowa (ESL Program, USA) describes the development of their own center: “The intensive English Language Program (IIEP) appeared at our university in 1976 and was conducted only during the summer holidays, but in 1980 it became year-round the program. It was created specifically for those students who entered US universities and needed intensive English language courses before they start studying abroad. ”These centers are also beneficial for universities, because they help attract international students who are guaranteed to be well prepared for receiving education abroad. Christina Gambrell from the Center for the Study of English (ELC) at the University of Victoria (Canada) explains: “Our current tasks are to attract as many students as possible to learn English in our center and their subsequent training in undergraduate programs, as well as providing support to international students who have already entered the University of Victoria. ” While some universities set up their own centers for learning English, others enter into cooperation agreements with companies such as Into, Study Group, Navitas and Cambridge Education Group. For example, the company Into has its educational centers in 10 universities in the UK and the USA. “Initially, these centers offered preparation courses for university entrance, as well as general and academic English courses, which helped students to further obtain a bachelor’s or master’s degree,” explains Into employee Liz Munro. “In the past few years,” she continues, “we opened an A-level course at the Into UEA (University of East Anglia) and at the Manchester centers, co-founded special masters courses at the London Into UEA Center, and also opened training courses for medical faculties at Into St.George’s at the University of London.
University educational centers offer a wide range of specialized academic courses that use teaching methods from leading universities in the world. For example, the Griffith Institute for the Study of English (GELI) at Griffith University (Australia) offers programs aimed at improving the language skills of students who want to get an education abroad. It is important to note that the teaching is carried out using university methods and includes 4 mandatory courses, just like in bachelor’s or master’s studies. The same ideas are followed in the UK, Sarah Healey from the Oxford Brookes International Education Center emphasizes that their programs are specifically designed according to the principle of British university programs.
“Our courses are designed to increase the level of English language skills of our students, as well as develop the necessary academic skills for successful study abroad and a bachelor’s or master’s degree,” she explains.
Many English courses created at specific universities include work on reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills – essential elements of higher education abroad. Maureen Burke clarifies that students who wish to undergo more thorough training are also studying methods of conducting research and working with sources, learning to write essays, listening to lectures, taking notes, preparing presentations and taking part in discussions. For example, Christa Borg, an employee of the Access Macquarie Educational Center at Macquarie University (Australia), explains that their students are learning about Australian academic life, developing research skills, preparing reports on various topics in their field of interest, working on critical and analytical skills, and In addition, they develop listening and speaking skills through attending lectures and preparing presentations.
An employee of the Center for International Education at the University of California, Beth Greenwood (Davis Extension Education Center, USA), states that studying at their center “can increase the chances of entering a university and getting higher education abroad, because Davis Extension helps international students to be closer to the best universities in the world. thanks to high-quality training in a supportive and friendly environment. “
Training programs can also contribute to the success of students in their future academic life.
Some educational centers have developed a special system by which students can receive loans (credit units) even before entering the main program of study. A program was planned at the Center for the Study of English (ELC) at the University of Victoria (Canada), according to which “international students can start accumulating loans even at the preparatory stage for entering the university,” Christina Gambrell clarifies. Successful completion of a training course at an educational center in some cases can lead to enrollment in a university, which is an excellent opportunity for those who wish to pursue higher education abroad. Moreover, in some universities admission conditions are quite liberal. For example, at the Into Educational Center at the University of South Florida, 93% of students who successfully completed the first semester of preparation for entry courses in December 2010 were automatically enrolled in bachelor’s and master’s programs. Among international students who want to get a higher education abroad in the best universities in the world, the largest number of representatives of Asia, in particular Saudi Arabia. However, Maureen Burke clarifies that in recent times the number of students from China has significantly increased. Quite often, foreign students apply for scholarship programs, which greatly simplifies the process of studying abroad.
Economic factors and high competition adversely affect the demand for training programs.
“The demand for English courses in Australia has fallen significantly due to increased competition from countries that traditionally host foreign students,” explains Krista Borg.
Taking a training course at an educational center opened at a particular university allows foreign students to integrate into the local student community and gain invaluable experience in studying at the university of their dreams. “Students have a unique opportunity to experience the atmosphere of university life before they directly enter a foreign university,” says Sarah Guinea of the Griffith Institute for Learning English. “Students are offered a harmonious combination of benefits that are characteristic of both foreign language courses and university programs.”
In the recent past, many universities did not apply to experts in the field of education abroad in order to optimize the recruitment process (recruitment of new students). Today, many of them are aware of the need to use various recruiting techniques that are especially important in the face of serious competition in the educational services market. The Center for International Education at the University of California (Davis Extension, USA) has developed an entire recruitment network around the world, including universities that are partners of the company, agencies, and alumni communities that Beth Greenwood calls “probably the best recruiters.” Morin Burke from the University of Iowa (ESL Program, USA) states that they also use the services of recruitment companies in various countries around the world and annually participate in exhibitions devoted to higher education abroad. But, as Maureen Burk stresses, the reputation of the university itself is no less important for attracting international students who wish to complete a course of preparation for entering a foreign university. “After all, IIEP is a serious and high-quality intensive English language learning program, accredited by the CEA Specialized Commission and a member of the UCIEP organization and the American AAIEP Association, which certainly contributes to increasing the popularity of the program among applicants,” she clarifies.
Christina Gambrell from the Center for the Study of English at the University of Victoria (Canada) confirms that they have also made quite a few contracts with companies that send entire groups of students annually to study abroad. Cooperation with agencies specializing in education abroad is also an important factor in the recruitment of international students. “We have a large database of agencies with which we work closely,” says Christina Gambrell, “we organize study tours, work with our partners abroad, and also conduct correspondence with them online. In addition, we have employees working in Mexico and Brazil, who provide productive cooperation with local agencies, and also attend exhibitions devoted to education abroad, and prepare various presentations promoting our program. ”