University College Attracts ESL Students From Ten Different Countries

News Story: August 1, 2011

Madeleine Monaghan has steered the English Language Institute at Sacred Heart University for the past year and a half and made big strides with recruiting and accreditation since getting in the saddle. The Institute, which is housed under University College and is dedicated to adult education and non-traditional students (older than 21 and returning to college), features an intensive English Language program that runs five days a week from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., all through the year. Annually, six semesters of seven weeks each are offered. Students can join at any point.

Participants include non-native speakers of English who may have zero English or intermediate English comprehension and need to achieve a fluency level to begin their graduate or undergraduate studies.

“There are six classes a student must take in a semester,” said Monaghan. “These include Academic Writing, Grammar, Listening, Pronunciation & Presentation, Vocabulary & Idioms, and Reading Comprehension. We offer several levels to accommodate any skill set.”

“This semester, due to our successful efforts, we have students enrolled full-time at our Stamford campus that represent 10 countries,” said Monaghan. The countries include Bangladesh, Columbia, Greece, China, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, Venezuela, Vietnam, South Korea and Poland.

Monaghan pointed out that the ESL program has only just been offered year-round. “I restarted the summer program last year,” she said. “The wide international draw is an excellent indicator of future success and shows that there’s a true interest from across the globe in SHU’s ESL curriculum.”

The program is being well received by students. Muna Alali, 24, from eastern Saudi Arabia, is in her third month and plans to continue the program through December. “I wanted to improve my English so I could get better grades in all of my subjects,” Alali said. “English comprehension is especially important in my home country as employers are reluctant to hire you unless you can speak and write English. I’m already seeing improvements in my writing and communication.”

Classmate and fellow countryman Fahad Al Sulimani, 21, from the western region of Saudi Arabia, was also seeking to improve his English skills, with a goal of helping him earn a degree in medical laboratory work. “In seven weeks, I’ve made a lot of progress – 25% in comprehension, listening, speaking, reading and writing. The instructors are helpful and available. It’s also awesome to have fellow students from all over the world. You get to know their culture, personalities, educational background and what they do for entertainment.”