Category: English Language Institute

Kobe Students Explore American Culture

Kobe University Students from Japan visit UA to explore American Culture

UA students and local social workers, comedians, coffee shop baristas and employees of agencies were some of the people students from Kobe University in Japan interviewed during their stay at the English Language Institute, February 14 – March 25. As part of their short-term program, the students did research about the U.S. in an area of their interest.  To gather information, they got involved with the Tuscaloosa community by attending a comedy open mike night, volunteering at the West Alabama Food Bank and visiting Goodwill Industries and America’s Thrift Stores.

At the end of their stay, the group presented their findings on religion, poverty, humor, discrimination, coffee culture, the civil rights movement and fast fashion. The students agreed that their interaction with Americans was a meaningful part of the program. In addition to their research, they took classes in Pronunciation/Speaking, American Culture and Writing.

UA and International Students Learn from One Another through an Experiential Learning Course

ELI UA Students Building Marshmallow TowerUA and ELI students compete with other groups to build the best marshmallow and pasta tower

On Mondays and Wednesdays in BB Comer Hall, UA and English Language Institute (ELI) students come together in a unique program that provides both groups of students the opportunity to share perspectives on their cultures.

The CIP 202 Introduction to Global and Cultural Perspective Experiential Learning course has two labs which allow UA students to join international students twice a week throughout the semester. UA students can either join a Speaking/Listening 5 and 6 course in which ELI students learn about American history and its influence on culture or a Culturally Speaking course in which UA and ELI students are given topics to discuss or tasks to complete.

The CIP 202 course culminates with an Intercultural Experience Showcase. UA students in the course create posters that highlight the lessons they have learned and perspectives that have changed from their interactions the international students.

Intercultural Experience ShowcaseIntercultural Experience Showcase

Intercultural Experience Showcase

ELI and UA Students Building Marshmallow TowerUA and ELI students compete with other groups to build the best marshmallow and pasta tower

UA and ELI Students Building Mashmallow TowerUA and ELI students compete with other groups to build the best marshmallow and pasta tower

ELI Alumna Returns

Dr. Beyza Aksu Dunya

The English Language Institute (ELI) always enjoys visits from its alumni. Our most recent visitor was Dr. Beyza Aksu Dunya, who has returned to The University of Alabama (UA) as a visiting scholar in The School of Education to do research in educational measurement. Beyza studied at the ELI in 2009 on a scholarship from the Turkish government and at the same time met her future husband. After earning a master’s degree at Boston College and a Ph.D at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Beyza returned to Turkey to fulfill her scholarship obligation. Since then, she and her husband have been working as Associate Professors in their country.

Beyza is now taking advantage of a sabbatical to do research at UA concerning computer adaptive testing and student assessment. She appreciates the fact that her “colleagues here are open to sharing their ideas and their time,” and she values the resources available to her. Coming back to Tuscaloosa also attracted her because “it is a safe and affordable college town” in which to expose her 8-year-old son to a new culture and language.

We welcome all ELI alumni to stay in touch and to come back to the campus whenever possible.

ELI Welcomes Fulbright Students

This spring and summer the English Language Institute (ELI) is hosting 14 Fulbright Long-Term English students. These scholars study 20 hours of intensive English per week, as well as learn about US society and graduate school culture through seminars and courses.

The scholars will continue studying at the The University of Alabama’s ELI program through August. Many of the scholars will then join graduate programs in the United States.

The scholars represent 12 countries: Angola, Argentina, Bahrain, Burma, Egypt, Indonesia, Iraq, Madagascar, Mali, Morocco, Panama, and South Korea. The ELI is pleased to partner with Fulbright to host and support these students.

ELI Students Join Tuscaloosa’s Sakura Festival

ELI Students Performing at Sakura Festival

Japanese students from the English Language Institute (ELI) at The University of Alabama joined the Tuscaloosa Sister Cities 37th annual Sakura (Cherry Blossom) Festival this spring.

The students led activities highlighting Japanese culture, such as writing names in Japanese, origami demonstrations, traditional dancing, and “fishing” for toys with children.

The ELI students from Japan enjoyed the festivities and said that they enjoyed interacting with the children most of all.

The Sakura Festival is held in Tuscaloosa each year to celebrate the return of spring and Japanese culture.

ELI Students at Sakura Festival

ELI Students at Sakura Festival

ELI Students Performing at Sakura Festival

ELI Students Performing at Sakura Festival

English Language Institute Celebrates 40th Anniversary

A mural painted by ELI students in 1982, when the English Language Institute opened

English Language Institute Celebrates 40th Anniversary

This year, 2022, marks the 40th anniversary of the English Language Institute (ELI) at The University of Alabama!

The program began in 1982 and has since hosted over 7,000 students from over 100 countries.

“It is exciting to be a part of a program that changes students’ lives, helps their education and careers, and provides the opportunity to learn about and appreciate other cultures,” says the ELI’s Director, Amy Taylor.

It is common for former students from all over the world to come back and visit the program. For alumni and current students, the ELI is a home away from home.

With professional teachers and warm and supportive staff members, ELI students often talk about what they enjoy and why they are studying at the ELI:

Joseph from Cameroon – “I like the ELI because since I’ve been here, I have met people from many countries.”

Mareth from Colombia – “I like the ELI because here there are good teachers.”

Maria from Mexico – “I really love the university because it is very pretty, and I am knowing about new cultures.”

Fuka from Japan – “I want to improve my English to get a good job in an English-speaking country.”

Bora from Turkey – “I want to improve my English, and I want to study at The University of Alabama.”

On the 40th anniversary, the English Language Institute appreciates both its former and current students and looks forward to welcoming new students.

Kansai Gaidai Students Celebrate Earth Day

Kansai Gaidai Students Celebrate Earth Day

Kansai Gaidai students from the Capstone International Center’s English Language Institute participated in Tuscaloosa Sister Cities International’s annual “Spring Greening” clean-up at the Narashino Grove in tribute to Earth Day.

The Narashino Grove is located in downtown Tuscaloosa just off Lurleen Wallace Boulevard between I-359 ramps, near McDonald’s restaurant. The cherry trees were a gift from Narashino to Tuscaloosa in 1986, when the partnership between the cities began. This year will mark the 36th anniversary of the partnership. Students trimmed the cherry trees as well as replenished the mulch at the base of the trees. They also picked up trash.

The Kansai Gaidai students have also volunteered at the 5th Annual Tuscaloosa Heritage Festival and the 36th Annual Sakura Cherry Blossom Festival where they practiced origami and Japanese calligraphy. Kansai Gaidai University is a private Japanese university known for its focus on foreign languages, study abroad, and Asian Studies programs. Their stay continues a long history between the University of Alabama and Kansai Gaidai University.

ELI and UA Student-Athletes

ELI Student Loeiza on UA's Wheelchair Basketball Team

During the Fall 2021 semester, the English Language Institute (ELI) had five UA student-athletes join its classes:

  • Bernardo Bondra De Almeida from Brazil on the UA Swimming and Diving Team
  • Mohamed Ahmed Farouk from Egypt on the UA Swimming and Diving Team
  • Loeiza Le Roux from France on the UA Wheelchair Basketball Team
  • Filip Planinsek from Slovenia on the UA Tennis Team
  • German Samfalov from Ukraine on the UA Tennis Team
    To support UA’s student-athletes beyond the classroom, the ELI scheduled an activity to root for Loeiza and the other women on UA’s Wheelchair Basketball Team. Around 30 ELI students and faculty members attended and cheered the team on to a win.

    The ELI is proud to support UA’s student-athletes.