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Read about the unique experiences of our students and how the IEI has supported their individual journeys.


Juliana Bueno


I had always studied English in Brazil, and I was looking for something different I didn’t want just to improve my English skills but also have a good time. After this semester I can affirm that all my goals were reached. Since the first day, I met a lot of different people from all around the world! It was a great experience, that I’ll never forget. Furthermore, I feel that my English improved a lot. The teachers were extremely dedicated to us and committed to our goals. They were always ready to help with whatever we need. I have never had such great teachers before, and I will always remember their kindness and dedication. But what really impressed me in IEI is their commitment with the quality of their courses. they are always asking for feedback and trying to improve themselves. That is the reason why I can affirm that IEI is a great choice for everybody. So, If you want to improve your English and have a lot of fun, IEI is a choice that you’ll never regret.

Mauricio Terasawa


It’s the best way to study English and an unforgettable and amazing experience. I studied at the IEI and I can say that was a multicultural experience far beyond than just learning English. The IEI is a place where we can make friends from everywhere and learn about their culture while we improve our English language skills and learn about American culture. It’s the best way to study English and an unforgettable and amazing experience that I will have for all my life. All instructors are really well prepared to give us the best of the English language. All activities are carefully organized to improve your English skills and transform your time here in a wonderful experience. Moreover, studying at the IEI helped me to get a more enjoyable and comprehensive view of academic life in the United States and helped me a lot to get a great score in TOEFL. I now recommend the IEI to all my friends.


Patricia Ferrer


I feel that The Intensive English Institute is one of the most effective and worthwhile English programs in the country. I came to the USA with tons of expectations, illusions, goals, and of course fears that were all worthy because I was following a dream: learn English to improve my professional career. Coming to the U.S. was a great idea, but coming to Champaign-Urbana and specifically to the IEI made it the best experience and it really changed my life. The most crucial thing that the IEI gave me was all the necessary tools to be able to attend a graduate program in the U.S. With all the knowledge and skills I acquired at the IEI plus my master's degree in teaching english as a second language from the University of Illinois, I decided to try teaching my own language to English native speakers. This is how today I teach Spanish to high school teenagers. The IEI has been so important to me that some times I try to remember some of my experiences at the IEI to use them for my own teaching. I could not have been more fortunate: I am living in a place I like a lot, my network of people is bigger and better, my friends are friends for life, I enjoy what I do, it makes me happy! What else I can ask for… And everything started at the IEI!

Juan Santiago Mejia Santamaria


I will remember my experience here as one of the best of my life. The first impression is always the most important of all impressions and I could not get a better one from the IEI here at the University of Illinois. Since I walked into the IEI on the first registration day, everything has worked so well. It gives you a feeling of trust, such a nice thing in a foreign country so far from home. The academic experience has been great. Teachers are excellent and they really know how to handle their classes. The class culture is very relaxing but at the same time challenging. But everything is not just studying; meeting new friends from all around the world has been another interesting element of my experience. With all these new friends, I have shared nice moments in class and done some extra social activities like Chit Chat and the Welcome Picnic. Furthermore, this is not just the IEI and its academic and social activities; this is the University of Illinois. The campus seems huge to me. This great size includes an excellent variety of things for every interest. I am very glad I came here to study because I have really learned a lot and I have met so many great people. I am sure that in the future I will remember my experience here as one of the best of my life.

Democratic Republic of Congo

Ngamboko P. Muzinga


What impressed me most about the program was … their commitment to see individuals succeed. Upon my arrival in the U.S., I could not engage in a conversation using the English language except for exchanging greetings. The IEI gradually removed a significant hurdle that I had: an inability to speak or write in English. This led to a considerable improvement on my TOEFL score, and I built confidence in using the English language to communicate. As a result of the progress that I was making, I was admitted as a graduate student at the University of Illinois and offered an assistantship. What impressed me most about the program was the ambiance that existed in the whole IEI environment – the caring and supportive nature of the staff and their commitment to see individuals succeed and progress to other opportunities. The exposure to people from other cultures was a rewarding and comforting experience and it created a sense of community that encouraged us to support each other.


Fabio Manda


After taking several semesters at the IEI, I have no doubt that the IEI is a great choice because of its tradition, prestige, and quality of instruction. Classes are small and never boring, and the teachers are very friendly. During my experience at the IEI, I improved my English and learned about life at an American campus. I then obtained admission to the School of Architecture at the University of Illinois, which was my dream! I am very grateful to the IEI as it helped me improve my English skills and reach my academic goals. Choosing the IEI changes your life! It happened to me!

Ellisa Sabadini


I’m very happy to have had the experience at the IEI. I spent my time learning how to use English more appropriately, especially American English. As a European, I have always studied British English. This was my first time in the U.S., so I realized the differences in pronunciation and speaking between American and British English. I found this interesting because it has strong connections to the culture. Through the activities the IEI organized in and out of class, I could see and understand more about the American lifestyle. I also found it interesting to speak with native speakers about their culture. At the same time I had a lot of fun. I met a lot of people from around the world and everyday there was something new I could learn from one classmate or another. It was great and I still keep in touch with them.


Akira Iwamoto


Attending the language program at the University of Illinois Intensive English Institute helped me to improve not only my English skills but also my knowledge of the American academic culture and campus life. The IEI Academic Listening-Speaking and Pronunciation classes helped me a lot in the discussion classes I later had in graduate school. Although writing styles vary from one academic field of study to another, what I learned in the IEI Academic Reading and Writing courses can be applied to any field. Additionally, the Academic Reading and Writing teacher cared about the academic area each student came from. I was also given the chance to take a special class at the University of Illinois, given in collaboration with the Intensive English Institute. This was my first course experience at an American university, and getting an good grade in that course helped me gain self-confidence. One of the services offered by the IEI is the ConvoPartners program. University of Illinois students and community members volunteer to become conversation partners with IEI students. They get together and discuss various campus daily life topics. This way many students built good friendships with American students. My conversation partner is now a very nice friend of mine. I keep in touch with him, and we go out together and share many university experiences. The IEI experience has helped me tremendously in what I am doing in graduate school now. I really appreciate it and I am proud that I could attend the IEI!

Yumi Obata


I liked the IEI very much because of its excellent curriculum. What I learned in classes was practical and useful for my work in Japan as well as for academic preparation. The teachers at the IEI are professional, kind, and friendly. I spent a lot of time with my teachers chatting after classes. I also enjoyed the environment of the IEI and the University of Illinois. IEI students can use university facilities such as libraries and campus recreation. I loved to swim in the summer and ice skate with my classmates in the winter. Urbana-Champaign is a clean, safe and beautiful city. It is not very big but has a lot of entertainment such as movie theaters and shopping malls. I often spent my time walking around campus to enjoy the beautiful scenery. I especially like the fall season. It’s really amazing!

Kumoko Suzuki


On the first day I joined the IEI, I could hardly communicate with classmates or even go shopping. But on the day I left the IEI, I was surrounded by classmates and was talking and laughing with them. At the IEI, I learned how to communicate with foreigners, which I had never learned in my school days in Japan. This was the result of the expertise of all teachers who were specialists in teaching English. I had many friends from all over the world with similarly ambitious goals, who could use their improved English skills to make a difference in their lives. Thanks to the IEI, I became able to do many things such as make travel reservations, shop, and attend university classes in English by myself. And I enjoyed traveling to many places, including Mexico and Canada, and having conversations with locals in English. I strongly recommend you to come to the IEI at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and experience the IEI language classes!


Madina Abdrakhman and Tatyana Kim


Studying at the Intensive English Institute is a smart decision to improve your academic English, make friends from all over the world, and become acquainted with American culture. The program is a great preparation for those who want to study at an American university. In our case, studying at the IEI was a great chance to get involved in real college life. During our two semesters at the IEI, we developed and significantly improved our academic reading, writing, speaking and listening skills that are crucial to be successful in college. In addition, we learned a lot about American culture and history through taking various elective courses and communicating with American students at the IEI. All of the great memories we have from the IEI are thanks to the teachers and students enrolled in the program. They are always very friendly, supportive and encouraging. Studying at the IEI was definitely unique, useful, and unforgettable.


Kyubum Kim


When I came to the U.S., I had problems because I could not speak English well and could not understand differences between Korean and American culture. However, during the IEI course, I found that my English ability improved. For example, I do not fear talking to Americans anymore. I am able to talk to my landlord about my housing problems. I think there may be many differences between different nation's cultures and when you come to the U.S. for the first time, you may be confused and experience culture shock. But don’t worry about that! The IEI programs will help you!

Hwang Jin Lee


I got a lot of help from the people at the IEI in many ways. They helped me to understand what I did not know before. At the beginning of the semester, they tried to find the right class which would help me improve my English skills best. During the semester, I improved not only my English but also my knowledge about American culture. The IEI teachers helped me whenever I had difficulty understanding what I had learned in class. The classes were not boring, but were motivating and made me interested in English. Moreover, I was able to make a number of international friends. There were many interesting students from various countries who can have fun together at the IEI. While I was having a good time with these students, we became close friends. Before I attended to the IEI, I thought that English was boring and difficult to learn. But now I know that I can have fun when I learn English. I think that the IEI helped me to discover this.

Una Park


I will never forget my year in Urbana-Champaign at the IEI. Everything in my life changed this year, because I had to start everything new here. A new start can be hard, but it wasn’t hard for me. It was at the IEI where I was able to meet friends from all around the world and to share their friendship like a family at home. Living in a small town, we could easily develop close relationships. The family-like atmosphere at the IEI made me feel comfortable. I won’t forget the precious moments that I enjoyed with my international classmates and friends. Without my friends from the IEI, it would have been impossible for me to survive and live happily and vividly in peaceful Urbana-Champaign. Everybody I met at the IEI had an open mind and tried to help me whenever I needed it. All the staff, including the teachers, were full of energy and enthusiasm towards the IEI students. Their warm welcome on the orientation day, their continuous care and concern all through the semester, and the congratulations at the final reception… all these memories will remain in my mind as precious and significant. Thank you to everyone that I met in the IEI. I will miss you all the time.

Jae Pom Yom


No doubt about it, my experiences at the Intensive English Institute have been tremendous. We are here to achieve our purposes such as studying English or preparing to go to a university. I think the IEI has been one of the best places for me to accomplish my goals. At the beginning of a semester, it was arduous to follow classes because there was a lot to do such as research, interviews, and preparing presentations. But it made me more confident and my English stronger. So now I have acquired many skills such as professional speaking, academic writing, listening and conversation. Also, I can’t forget about my great classmates and teachers. If someone asks me when the happiest and worthiest time in my life was, I am going to answer that it is “IEI” without any hesitation.

Saudi Arabia

Atef Al-Rashidi


I came to the United States with a dream of getting my Ph.D., but language was my greatest obstacle. I remember the frustration on my first day at Urbana-Champaign when I could not order a pizza, because I came with almost no English. I had chosen the IEI among many intensive English programs and it became the gateway to my dream! From the first month in the IEI, I felt the improvement. I realized that, little by little, my dream was becoming a reality. The IEI program was even more than I expected. It was not limited to teaching English as a language, but from its friendly staff I learned a lot about different cultures. The horizon was expanded to meet different people from different parts of the world whom became my friends. I have stayed in touch with most of them! What I liked the most is the character of the IEI staff, their support, encouragement, hard effort to see their student succeed, and their kind care about their students even after their graduation. As a result of my study in the IEI, I got admission at the University of Illinois and received my master’s degree from its College of Business. Now, I am a Ph.D. candidate in Economics at Oklahoma State University. Truly, my time at the IEI was the best time in my life, and I am so honored to have had that chance.


Marta Lopez-Luzzatti Martin


I will go back to Spain with really great memories of the IEI. At the beginning, I was a little scared because I had never done anything like this in my life. But I had so much fun and I improved my English a lot. From the very first day, the people at the IEI were so kind and helpful; they made me feel very comfortable. That was very important for me because it was hard to leave my home and come here. They understood that and treated me with kindness and sympathy. Also, they helped me in whatever I needed, not only with their program but also with life in Urbana-Champaign. They made it easy for everybody. I think the program was great; the teachers were experienced, qualified, patient, and respectful with everybody. They were very friendly and they were always ready to help us. I found the classes interesting, useful and a lot of fun. I made some really good friends there. They also prepared extra activities so you can have a lot of fun visiting many different places, doing new things and passing the time with your friends at the IEI. I really liked this institute and I’m very happy to have been there.


Hsuan-Ning Ching


From the English placement test to choosing what classes I like, the IEI did their best to put me in the level that was suitable for me. Even though it was hard for me in the beginning, teachers helped me to patiently overcome every difficulty both in school and in my new adopted environment. Because my teachers never hesitated to answer my all questions, I improved a lot, from a person who had difficult reading TOEFL articles to a person who can now read Time magazine; from a person who didn’t really clearly understand daily conversation to a person who can now understand a 50 minute lecture. Also, they offered a lot of resources or held a lot of activities besides regular classes. In every activity, I not only learned English, made new friends, but also had lots of fun. There are always countless interesting activities waiting for me like all-IEI parties or game nights. I appreciate the IEI because they gave me even more than my expectations. They helped me make learning English fun.

Yu-Ching Huang


I will never forget the first day I came to the IEI. The friendly staff and international students let me realize that I was in America. At that time, I was so afraid because every student could speak English very well, except me. After the summer semester, I knew that my English had improved. I can communicate with Americans, go to restaurants and order my meals, shop for everything that I need, and travel to other states with friends. I learned a lot at the IEI. The IEI taught me not just English skills. It also taught me what American culture is and how to live in America. Now, I enjoy my life in this beautiful town. I like the weather of Urbana-Champaign. The four seasons are very clear and that is totally different from my country. I like to sit on the quad, look the the broad sky and breathe the fresh air. I can breathe the atmosphere of freedom. I like sitting in coffee shops and chat with my friends. I am lucky because I chose the right place, IEI.


Chaiwat Baimai


The IEI provides plenty of opportunities for all international students to take advantage of studying abroad both inside and outside classrooms. In classes, since the ratio of teacher and students is quite low, all students have an opportunity to work closely with teachers. Meanwhile, students can learn from each other with different viewpoints. Outside classes, the IEI has a special program called ConvoPartners, a one-on-one matchup with international students and local partners. I learned a lot about cultural differences and American lifestyles. Practicing English, making new friends, and learning culture, that is what the IEI is all about. My goal was to get accepted in a business school in the U.S. I targeted the University of Illinois as the highest goal. My English proficiency increased surprisingly while I was attending in IEI. I gained more confidence using English in daily life and writing academically. Besides taking IEI classes, I had a chance to sit in on some business lectures and do some volunteer programs with university students. No doubt, my fundamental language skills were built mainly from the course of training at IEI. I was accepted to the Illinois College of Business as I had hoped and I would not have reached this point without attending the IEI.


Zeynep Genc


I can say that I made the best choice by coming here. I looked at lots of English courses before I came to the IEI. However, I can say that I made the best choice by coming here. The IEI is the one of the best. When I came to U.S. I could not speak English well. It was a really bad situation for me, but when I took the IEI course I learned so many things. It especially helped my speaking. If you want to speak and learn English, you have to learn the culture, and the lifestyle of Americans. Everybody is very friendly, and gentle here. You can improve your English by speaking with local students that the IEI arranges for us. In general, we have lots of opportunities to improve our communication skill without being bored. I was really surprised after the first week of the classes had passed, because I had thought that they might be boring sometimes. However, I immediately changed my mind, because we have lots of fun in the classes. This is the most important difference between other English courses and the IEI. We also have lots of outside activities here. And the teachers are really good at teaching English. They have the patience that we need. Also, they are very creative in planning class activities and lessons. I am planning to attend a master's degree program at the University of Illinois. For that reason, I have to be really good at English. I got self-confidence about my English here. If you have a problem with English, or want to improve your English, the best place to take care of it is – the IEI! I suggest that you come here if you really want to learn English. You will really see the difference!

Yildiz Yildirim-Tezcan


For someone who seriously wants to learn and improve his or her English, I can’t think of a better place than IEI. It is a great English institute with experienced and friendly staff, who crave to provide their students the best available education. I started taking courses in IEI because I needed to improve my academic skills in English in order to study in a college in the U.S. and I honestly believe that I made an impressive progress. Even though I took only one semester of academic English courses in IEI, it felt like I was all equipped to be a successful student in any U.S. college. IEI courses and the instructors gave me the confidence and the knowledge that I needed to pursue my goal. I’m currently going to a college in the U.S. and I’m doing very well along with all native English speaker students. I’m amazed to see that even the simplest tips that I learned in IEI classes are still playing a crucial role in my academic success. Thank you IEI!


Phuong Dang


The day I registered at the IEI, I felt I didn’t fit in. When I first saw the IEI building, it didn’t seem like an institute as I thought, but I was wrong. Everybody at the IEI helped me a lot. And after several classes had passed, I soon realized that not only the people at the IEI but also all the people here, in Urbana-Champaign were really friendly and openhearted. I’d like to send special thanks to my teachers. I always felt comfortable when I was in their classes. I didn’t hesitate to ask them if I had questions about my lessons or everything else outside our class, and they were very willing to help me. I think my English is much better. I also want to thank the IEI because of the outside activities. These were really fun and helped me to learn a lot about American culture. I had great time here though I was here only one semester.

Manh Nguyen


I loved the friendly atmosphere at the University of Illinois and the IEI. I liked the way they work at the IEI. It is practical and efficient. All the teachers are so kind, helpful, and thoughtful. During the course, I was trained to master the necessary skills which were very useful for my work in my native country. I had occasions to practice speaking and writing as much as I could. I had the chance to make friends with a lot of international students. We had a good relationship and worked well together. We often participated in various activities at Chit Chat or at the Illini Union. Everyone here had a good way of behaving to others. I think it was the common attitude of a civilized and human society. What also impressed me a lot was the good environment here. It is clean, green, and safe. I often spent hours after class and even on weekends walking around the campus and the neighboring area to enjoy looking at everything. Four months of the spring term at the IEI passed so quickly, but it was quite a significant part of my life.