March 2009 issue

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The impressive US east coast

Whether beaches, big cities or comfortable small cities are what a student has in mind, the US east coast will have many options for them. And many language learning programmes offer impressive facilities and a commitment to student diversity. Amy Baker reports.

As the nation’s capital from 1790-1800, Philadelphia is one of the most historic cities in the US,” states Amy Miller, International Recruitment Specialist for English Language Programmes at University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA. “It is where the Declaration of Independence was signed and where the Constitution of the United States was written.”

Miller is keen to point out the historic antecedents that recommend this east coast city as a prime study destination. Located on the academic coastline, with Boston and New York further on up the coast, Philadelphia is part of an academic hub that offers assured historical interest and social scope for students, given the well established academic scene. “The University of Pennsylvania was founded in 1740 by Benjamin Franklin and is a member of the prestigious Ivy League,” she explains. “There are over 23,000 students, including more than 3,500 international students and more than 4,000 faculty members including five Nobel Prize recipients and five Pulitzer Prize winners.”

It is difficult to compete with such an impressive academic backdrop, but at Boston University (BU) Center for English Language and Orientation Programs (Celop), Peter Schilling is confident of the appeal of this study location too. Celop pays particular attention to ensuring that its students mix with American undergraduates. “Students who choose to live in a BU dormitory will be given an American roommate whenever possible,” he says, emphasising, “Celop students are Boston University students, and they can use all of the facilities on campus, including 27 libraries, the fitness and recreation centre with swimming pool, and counselling and advising services. They can join BU student organisations in addition to the wide array of social events that take place each semester.”

Boston is another of the USA’s oldest cities, and remains European in feel, like much of the east coast, with an easily walkable city boasting many restaurants, museums, colleges and universities, parks and the famous Freedom Trail, a walking tour of 16 historic sites in the city, ending up at the USS Constitution. “There is a vibrant nightlife as well as cultural festivals and events that take place throughout the year,” adds Schilling.

The east coast, then, offers many prestigious academic institutions that have English language learning programmes. There are also smaller private enterprises equally dedicated to providing a first-class language learning experience. “I have been working for [inlingua] from day one. We offer quality language programmes at affordable prices to people from all walks of life,” recounts Janet Chang, Director of inlingua English Center in Arlington, VA. She continues, “I personally like this area because people here are from everywhere.  It is cosmopolitan and international; one feels at home easily.”

Arlington county in Virginia, a large conurbation once ranked one of the most walkable cities in the USA (and with a high average household income) is located next to Washington DC and well known for the Arlington National Cemetery, established during the American Civil War and the second-largest national cemetery in the country. Chang details, “Our school is part of the landmark RCA Building in Rosslyn, next to the Potomac River across from Georgetown in Washington, DC.  It is a friendly environment with students from many countries.”

If a smaller town feel is what students are looking for, they could also consider the Intensive English Programme (IEP) at Wilkes University, located in Wilkes-Barre in nearby Pennsylvania. Marcie Herman Riebe at the Center for Global Education and Diversity, which delivers the IEP, underlines the many facilities available for students within a “friendly, safe and small city”.

“We have 25 different residence halls, as well as a well-equipped library, and a large student centre,” she says. “Students enjoy access to our fitness centre, an indoor track and recreation centre, rock climbing wall and free memberships to the YMCA located adjacent to campus.”

Herman Riebe also hails a diverse student population as an attraction, as well as the surrounding countryside. “Wilkes is nestled in the Wyoming Valley by the picturesque Susquehanna River and is surrounded by the Endless and Pocono Mountain ranges,” she says. “There are many opportunities for outdoor activities as well as historical sightseeing in our area.” Local landmarks attest to the develoment of the coal industry in the country.  

“Wilkes was my choice for college,” she continues, “and as an alumna, I feel very connected to this place. I appreciate the direction Wilkes has taken in terms of diversity. When I was a student, there were few multicultural or international students on campus. Now, we have a large number of students that would be considered to be in both of these areas,” she says.  

Another study option in Pennsylvania is at the prestigious University of Pennsylvania IEP in Philadelphia, of course. Miller details that freetime activities in this city might include visiting Philadelphia Zoo, the Museum of Art, Franklin Institute Science Museum or ethnic neighbourhoods such as Chinatown and the Italian market. The must-sees are the Liberty Bell (an old bell which was rung to mark the first continental congress in 1774 and subsequently hidden from British troops that invaded in 1777) and Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776 . Seeing the Pennsylvania Dutch countryside, “where the Amish population follows a simple lifestyle that includes transportation by horse and carriage” is also intriguing, attests Miller.

Above Pennsylvania is the state of New York, famed more for its status as a world city than its academic reputation, but here too, there are of course many high quality learning institutions, ranging from privately operated school to university or college department. The English Language Institute (ELI) at the New York Institute of Technology falls into the latter category and offers two study locations for students to consider: mid-town Manhattan or a suburban Long Island campus.

“My first visit to NYIT’s Long Island campus was in 1976. Having attended a college in New York City, I was enthralled by the beautiful country-like setting. It became my dream to work there someday,” reveals Linda Comac, Coordinator of the ELI, who got to see her dream become reality. She points out advantages to either location: “The mid-town Manhattan campus offers classes in buildings that resemble office buildings. Students commute from all over the area so the Manhattan campus is truly a bustling environment. The Long Island campus features tree-lined sidewalks, a large pond where one can watch families of ducks, and buildings that range from modern to Tudor style.” Comac points out that New York state offers access to much countryside too. Another NYIT campus, in Nassau County, “is near some of the most beautiful beaches in the world”, she claims.

New York state is much more than New York City, although a visit to the Big Apple is inevitable to any student in the area, should they wish to experience the hustle and bustle of one of the world’s most exciting and iconic cities. Another highlight in the state is the Finger Lakes area, between New York City and Niagara Falls, which is said to be one of the truly unspoiled holiday areas to visit. There are many waterfalls and gorges in an area of narrow lakes and forests, where there are many watersports activities. Also popular is a visit to the Catskills Mountains, where there are ski resorts, trout fishing rivers, spa resorts and ranches.

New York dwarfs its neighbouring states, Connecticut and Rhode Island, but here too, there are study options for students to consider. “We are on the Connecticut shoreline with Long Island Sound right down the street,” explains Meg Cooney at the University of Bridgeport in Bridgeport, CT, who adds, “It is an easy train ride to New York City, New Haven and smaller New England towns.” Connecticut is the home state for many workers in New York City who travel in every day and also home to Yale University. It is the southern gateway to New England, the idyllic countryside famed for its colourful trees in the autumn.

Just above Connecticut is Rhode Island, which is an even smaller state, nevertheless offering easy connections to the rest of the eastern seaboard and to New England (which spreads upwards to Massachusetts and Maine). At the University of Rhode Island, “Students can expect a picturesque rural campus, with historic buildings surrounding a grassy quad in the centre of campus,” says Liz Prager O’Brien from the Office of Admission. She comments, “Rhode Island offers an ideal location, situated minutes from the beautiful beaches along Narragansett Bay, and accessible by Amtrak to the entire US eastern seaboard, from Boston, through New York City, and down to our nation’s capital, Washington, DC.”

Whether students sail, row, surf, or simply enjoy strolling along the beach, the Atlantic provides them with opportunities for both recreation and academic field experiences, notes Prager O’Brien. “Our students are also very spirited fans of our athletic teams, including NCAA basketball, soccer, football, and baseball,” she adds. “With more than 100 student clubs, there is always something going on after classes and on weekends.”

Agent viewpoint

 Francisco Frontado, KFM Segundoidioma.com, Venezuela
“The US east coast is easier to access from South America. It has many great cities such as Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, etc and each is full of American history. All offer some great places to shop. There are also some great ski resorts and beaches in the area, plus skiing facilities, etc. Boston is only four hours from New York and Cape Cod is only two hours away from Boston. Maine and Vermont are only few hours from Boston too and offer beautiful natural landscapes, rivers and many places to enjoy nature. Boston is a vibrant city, full of history and with many universities and colleges. Students from all over the world study in Boston.”

 Suji Kim, Atlas International, Korea
“First of all, the climate of the US east coast is quite similar with that of South Korea. So it definitely makes many Korean students feel comfortable. Second, a big city like Philadelphia or New York has a convenient transportation system like ours. Accordingly, students can go anywhere without a driver’s licence. Lastly, there are many prestigious universities [in the region] like UPenn, Columbia University, NYU. And, what is the best of all, they run English language programmes for international students throughout the year! It is no exaggeration to say that the Philly, having easy access to major cities, is the hub of the east coast. Philadelphia was the first capital of the USA and it still plays an important role in reflecting American history in many aspects."

 Carlos Mario Hurtado, Educaminos, Colombia
"Philadelphia offers the benefits of a larger city without actually living in one. Specifically, there are great theme parks, shopping malls, historical sites, world known musicals and plays, and plenty of top quality restaurants and bars. For those wishing to make the most out of their visit, there are important cities nearby such as New York and Washington, DC where the list of activities is endless. Tourism is a major activity of my students, as Philadelphia is located in the neighborhood of important attractions, such as Niagara Falls and the Amish County to mention only a couple. Shopping is also an important activity, as the State of Pennsylvania has tax exemptions for items such as clothing."

Contact any advertiser in the this issue now

The following language schools, associations and accommodation providers advertised in the latest edition of Language Travel Magazine. If you would like more information on any of these advertisers, tick the relevant boxes, fill out your details and send.





Sara's New York Homestay LLC  

Feltom Malta  
International House World Organisation 
Languages Canada / Langues Canada 
Quality English 


Your World on Monday

Malta Tourism Authority

Alphe Conferences  
International House World Organisation  
Languages Canada / Langues Canada  
Quality English  

Ecela - Latin Immersion  

Ceran Lingua International (Belgium, France, Spain, UK)

Idiomas To Go  

Applied Linguistics Centre Ltd.  
Camber College  
Camosun College  
College de Jonquiere / AQEF  
College Platon  
English School of Canada  
Eurocentres, Vancouver  
Global Village 
(Australia, Canada,
iTTTi Vancouver  
Language Studies Canada  
MacEwan English Language Institute  
Mount Royal College  
National School of  Languages  
Richmond School District #38  
Saint Mary's University  
University of Regina  
University of Toronto  
University of Victoria  
Vancouver English Centre  

Tandem Santiago  

Alltere Education Group  
IH Xi'an  
iMandarin Language Training Institute  
Mandarin House  

Spanish World Institute  

Yanapuma Spanish School  

IH Cairo  

Ardmore Language Schools  
Bell International (Malta, UK)
Bloomsbury International  
Camp Beaumont  
Concorde International Language Home Tuition  
(Argentina, Australia, Canada, England, France, Germany, Greece, Hawaii, Ireland, Italy, Malta, New Zealand, Russia, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, USA)
Dudley College of Technology  
English Studio  
International House World Organisation  
Kaplan Aspect  
(Australia, Canada, Ireland, Malta, New Zealand, South Africa, UK, USA)
LAL Language and Leisure  
(Canada, Cyprus, Ireland, England, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, USA)
Malvern House College London  
Millfield School  
Regent's College  
St Giles Colleges (Canada, UK, USA)
Study Group  
(Australia, Canada, England, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, USA)
Twin Group  (Ireland, UK)
University of Manchester  
Wimbledon School of English  

Alliance Française Paris Ile de France  

International House Berlin - Prolog  

Dilit - International House  
John Cabot University  

Kai Japanese Language School  
Tamagawa International Language School  

Clubclass Residential Language School  
EC English Language Centre (England, Malta, South Africa, USA)
Iels - Institute of English Language Studies  
inlingua Malta  

EAC Language Centres and Activity Camps  (England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales)
University of Edinburgh  
University of Stirling  

EC Cape Town  
Eurocentres Cape Town  
Good Hope Studies  
inlingua Language Training Centre Cape Town  
Interlink School of Languages  
International House Cape Town  
LAL Cape Town  
Shane Global Language Centres - Cape Town  

Esade - Executive Language Centre  
Malaga ¡Si!  
International House San Sebastian - Lacunza  
Malaca Instituto - Club Hispanico SL  

EF Language Colleges Ltd (Australia, Canada, China, Ecuador, England, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Malta, New Zealand, Russia, Scotland, Spain, USA)
Eurocentres International (Australia, Canada, England, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, Spain, USA)

ELS Language Centers  
Global Immersions Inc  
inlingua DC  
Johnson & Wales University  
Rennert Bilingual  
University of California Riverside  
University of California San Diego  
University of South Florida  
Zoni Language Centers  (Canada, USA)

CELA (Centro de Lingüistica Aplicada)  



London Metropolitan University  
Queen Ethelburga's College  
University of Essex - International Academy  
Writtle College  

Study Group  

University of Glasgow  

St. Timothy's School