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Intensive English Program


Full-time students in the Intensive English Program at the ELI take 23 hours per week of English classes and have access to an additional 20 hours per week of organized cultural activities.

You will have the opportunity to

  • Select semesters that vary from 6-14 weeks in length (see Calendar & Fees)
  • Take classes in reading/writing, grammar, academic listening/speaking, preparation for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), and pronunciation.
  • Choose electives, such as Business English, Conversation Strategies, and US Culture, at advanced levels when enrollment allows.
  • Be placed into your appropriate level in each skill, whether beginning, intermediate or advanced.
  • Learn from highly-qualified professional ESL instructors
  • Study in small classes, averaging 12 students
  • Join in customized programs for your group. See Special Programs.

Language Assistants

Providing students with a unique experience.

The ELI of the University of Florida is, so far as we know, the only English Language Institute to offer Language Assistants as part of its Listening/Speaking course.  Language Assistants are university-age fluent English speakers. Two Language Assistants are assigned to each Listening/Speaking class. They work with the Listening/Speaking teacher for each level to provide four hours a week of Speaking to practice the language learned in the class. They practice informal, conversational English and teach students about US culture. They take advantage of Florida’s climate and meet in an atmosphere conducive to informal language practice. The Listening/Speaking teachers and Language Assistants plan different activities, language games, and discussions based on the
needs and interests of the class to support the learning objectives of the class.

In addition to aiding the Listening/Speaking teachers, every weekend the Language Assistants lead trips outside of Gainesville as part of the ELI’s Cultural Immersion Program (CIP). For these Weekend Activities, the Language Assistants act as sort of tour guides as the students explore beyond the ELI. The Language Assistants also lead Weekday Activities after classes to provide students with even more English practice. Finally, the Language Assistants also help students become involved in the Gainesville community through the Volunteer Program. The students come to rely on the Language Assistants as friends they can turn to while adapting to a new culture. They provide myriad opportunities for daily authentic language and culture experience.

Commitment to Quality

Since 1954, when the ELI opened its doors, the ELI has had a firm commitment to excellence. The ELI is a founding member of the UCIEP Consortium, a national body that regulates standards for academic quality in the best programs in the United States. The ELI is also a founding member of the Florida Consortium of English Programs, and is accredited by the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA). Instruction is designed according to research in teaching English as a second language methods as well as learning theory.


ELI students come from approximately 30 different countries. The countries most heavily represented are: Brazil, China, Colombia, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and Venezuela. This mix of nationalities makes for increased opportunity to use English in all activities. Most of the students in the ELI are studying English in order to enter a college or university in the United States. Many ELI students are temporarily away from their jobs, studying English to improve their job performance.

Entrance Requirements

Students who want to study in the ELI must

  • Have at least a tourist knowledge of English
  • Be at least 17 years old
  • Have completed at least secondary school in their country

Program Mission and Objectives

The primary mission of the intensive English program of the English Language Institute is to prepare international students for study at the graduate or undergraduate level in institutions of higher learning in the USA. Students are taught to:

  • Read academic-level materials
  • Write academic papers and exams
  • Speak more fluently in both formal and informal settings
  • Take good, clear notes at lectures
  • Take timed, objective tests
  • Function knowledgeably in North American culture in order to establish and maintain productive relations with fellow students, professors and other members of the host community

The ELI also provides intensive language instruction to persons already trained in their professions and others who wish to improve their level of English proficiency and cultural awareness.

The Use of English at Our Institute

The English Language Institute wishes you to know that

  • In addition to the academic experience provided by the ELI, you should take advantage of every opportunity to use English;
  • Using language is a social act, and as such, your choice of language is not merely personal but it affects others — those you speak to and those who are within earshot;
  • At least in some cultures, the use of a language not understood by a person present is considered impolite.

For these reasons, it is the policy of the English Language Institute that English be used in all communications among students as well as students and employees, and we assume that, by applying for admission, you accept our rule on the use of English in order to show your commitment to immersing yourself in English language.