Language Arts

“English only in this office.”

That’s what a sign posted on the door of the Intensive English Language Program office reads. The office, located on 1700 N. Broad St., provides English instruction
for non-matriculated, pre-university international students.

“We are doing the only ESL instruction on campus,” said Maureen McNerney, the assistant director of the Office of International Services and supervisor of IELP.

Established in 1974, the IELP is a university-governed intensive English program that provides non-native English speakers of all proficiency levels with access to rigorous English instruction.

As a member of the American Association of Intensive English Program, a U.S.-based organization of nearly 300 intensive English language programs nationwide, the IELP also offers individuals from abroad with the opportunity for academic and professional success in the U.S. by improving their accuracy and fluency in English.

Currently, the program consists of 125 students from a variety of different countries, including Japan, Brazil and Saudi Arabia, offering instruction year-round. New students are enrolled into the program every seven weeks.

“IELP students can choose to live with host families who live in Philadelphia … and experience the American culture and English language on a daily basis,” Dennis Serge, an IELP coordinator and instructor,

The curriculum includes classroom instruction in four basic language
skills: reading, writing, listening and speaking. Students take courses in pronunciation, vocabulary building, conversation and preparation for the Test of English as a Foreign Language.

“Our students go for 20 hours a week,” McNerney said, adding that beyond traditional English instruction classes, IELP offers a variety of electives, such as English in business, English through music and films of Steven Spielberg, where students are also exposed to American culture.

Instruction is also supplemented by activities, such as conversation
partners and day trips to Philadelphia, New York City and Washington, D.C., where students can practice the English language in an informal setting. Upon successful completion of the IELP curriculum, many students matriculate into American universities, said McNerney.

These students particularly attend Temple because they have access to the university’s facilities.

“To a student’s home country, having a degree from an American university is considered extremely prestigious,” McNerney said.

According to Serge, the presence of international students on campus is beneficial. It serves as an exchange of insight and cultural experiences that “is bound to be enriching” for both American and international students, he said.”There are opportunities for IELP students to rub elbows with Temple students,” said Serge.

Through informal meetings, international coffee hours, and the Conversation Partners program, IELP students can interact with native English speakers on Temple’s campus.

Malaika Carpenter can be reached at

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