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UAlbany's Intensive English Language Program Admitted to Distinguished Consortium; Boosts Success for International Students

Intensive English Language Program Instructor Krassi Rangelov helps Gloria Irazema Santamaria Pang improve her English. (Photo Mark Schmidt)

ALBANY, N.Y. (July 27, 2011) -- Gloria Irazema Santamaria Pang arrived in the U.S. from Mexico with the goal of obtaining a master's degree in computer science from the University at Albany. But first, she determined, she needed to improve her English. UAlbany's Intensive English Language Program (IELP) provided her answer.

"English was very difficult when I first arrived at Albany," said Pang, a Xalapa, Mexico, native who had earned her bachelor's degree from a Mexican university. "My brother, who lives in Schenectady, knew about the IELP program because some friends recommended it.

"We did some research about intensive English language program schools with English as a second language (ESL) programs. UAlbany was a good option, since it's a university that offers quality."

For 33 years, said UAlbany's IELP director, Linda Leary, the program has been helping international students prepare for academic success by immersing them in full-time English instruction. In recent times, the largest number of IELP students has come from China, Korea, and Turkey.

This year, UAlbany's IELP gained important recognition when it was admitted to University and College Intensive English Programs, Inc. (UCIEP), a consortium that advances quality instruction in intensive English programs.

"Acceptance confirms that IELP has met this organization's high standards," said Leary. "It includes us in an elite group of 70 or so university-based intensive English programs in the nation."

IELP is a full-time, not-for-credit program offered year-round to students whose native language is not English. After improving their English skills, many students go on to study as undergraduate or graduate students at UAlbany. The academic language skills they learn at IELP help them succeed in their University classes.

IELP also serves UAlbany's matriculated international students. The Summer Academic Institute (SAI) is a four-week non-credit course for graduate and undergraduate international students who have been accepted to the University for the fall semester. They gain confidence in using English in an academic setting and familiarize themselves with the UAlbany campus and the City of Albany.

In the fall and spring semesters, IELP offers non-credit oral communication and academic writing courses to international students enrolled at UAlbany. In addition to high quality English language instruction, the students receive cultural orientation.

Thousands of students from more than 70 countries have studied English through IELP since the program's inception in 1978. Most recently, 49 students from 10 countries studied in the eight-week summer session. More than 100 students are enrolled for the 16-week spring and fall sessions.

"My time in IELP was a fantastic experience," said Pang. "In IELP, teachers understand that learning a new language is a challenge, so they knew how to help me to achieve my goal of speaking, listening, writing and reading English. In addition, they introduced me to American culture in an easy way. I found several good friends from different countries and I learned about their culture. My memories from IELP are unforgettable."

Part of the Office of International Education, IELP is located in the Science Library. IELP is fully supported by student tuition, and is administered by the SUNY Research Foundation. 

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A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.