English Language Institute: ELI

Frequently Asked Questions

The following is a list of questions frequently asked by international students. Throughout this document, Northern Michigan University is referred to by its initials, NMU.

Does NMU have an ESL program? – Yes. Northern Michigan University's English Language Institute, ELI, accommodates all levels of English proficiency and runs during the summer, fall and winter semesters.

What are the costs of the program? Click here to see the ELI Program Fees at the bottom of the page.

When can I enroll? You may enroll in August, January, or May.

What is the goal of the ELI program? – The program helps non-native English speakers gain confidence and fluency using the English language for conversational purposes and to prepare them for advanced academic studies. The ELI uses the TOEFL test, for matriculation into NMU. Students take courses and participate in activities designed to improve their understanding of the English language used in daily situations, classroom environments, and social contexts. 

Can you tell me a little bit about the ELI program courses?

Certainly! We offer four core component classes: Reading & Vocabulary, Speaking & Listening, Writing & Grammar, and Integrated Skills. In addition, students will take either American Culture or TOEFL Preparation. Students study Monday - Friday for 21 hours each week.

There are five language levels. Each level takes one semester (16 weeks) to complete.

  • Introduction
  • Pre-Intermediate
  • Intermediate
  • Pre-Advanced
  • Advanced

What if I want to learn how to take the TOEFL exam? Students enrolled in the Pre-Advanced and Advanced levels, will take the TOEFL Preparation course. The institutional TOEFL will be offered (free of charge) to students at the end of each semester.

Are all of your courses offered with a real instructor? Yes. All of our classes are face-to-face, and our instructors offer excellent individualized instruction.

What kinds of program components do you offer besides the Core Courses? 

  • Pronunciation Practice: NMU's Speech Pathology and Audiology Department's tutors work with the ELI students one-on-one during the week.
  • Service Learning: ELI students will have an opportunity to volunteer in the community.
  • Activities: ELI students will participate in various activities during the semester. Activities may include attending festivals, visiting museums, shopping trips, etc.
  • W.I.N. Program (Wildcat International Neighbors): ELI students may choose to be paired with a screened local family to meet with a few times a month for social and cultural immersion.

Is NMU a public or private school? – NMU is a publicly funded state university.

Is NMU a safe campus? – Yes, NMU offers a very secure environment. Being a medium sized campus, located in a city of only 23,000 people in a rural part of Michigan, the crime rate is low.

Do I need a car to attend NMU? - No, NMU is an easily navigable, compact campus in a small city; many students do not have cars. Students have access to the local bus system or the Wildcat Shuttle, which offers students, faculty and staff free, reliable bus transportation. For more information, go to http://www.nmu.edu/policedepartment/node/226.

How many students are at NMU? – Approximately 7,500 students attend NMU.

Are the International Students at NMU active? – Yes, there are over 100 international students at NMU, and there are several international student clubs. One of the most active organization on campus called the All Nations Club. The club organizes an International Food Festival as well as other fun cultural activities.

Are there other clubs I can join? Yes! There are over 300 student clubs at NMU. Additionally, you - or you and your friends - may create a new club.

Where is NMU located? – NMU is located in the northern mid-west region of the U.S.A. Marquette is a small city in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, on the southern shore of Lake Superior, the largest freshwater lake in the world. Three major airline hubs serve Marquette: Detroit, Michigan - 750 km; Chicago, Illinois - 640 km; and Minneapolis, Minnesota - 645 km.

Is it cold that far north? – NMU is located in the northern part of the U.S.A., so winters have cold weather and snow. The average winter temperature is approximately 18 degrees F (- 7.8 degrees C). However, the NMU campus has many covered walkways that allow students to move between many buildings without going outside. The winter months also provide opportunities for fun activities such as skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing.

Can I work while attending NMU? – You may be able to work for the university for up to twenty hours per week during the fall and winter semesters, and 40 hours per week during the summer. Pay rates may vary. Visa restrictions prohibit International Students from working for an employer other than the university.

Does NMU have adequate housing for students? – NMU has adequate housing on campus for all students. All students under the age of twenty-one must live on campus for two years (four semesters) or live with a host family; however, prior approval is required.

Where can I find information on immigration at NMU? Click on this link to obtain immigration information.

Where can I find information on housing at NMU? Click on this link to obtain housing information.

Are there places to walk in Marquette? Certainly! Marquette has an extensive network of hiking trails and biking/walking paths throughout the city. The city has been gradually expanding the paths and has been promoting itself as a walkable and livable community. Cross Country ski trails are also located at Presque Isle Park and the Fit Strip. Additionally, Marquette has beautiful beaches within walking distance of campus where you can walk.

Who should I contact for the ELI program? To contact the ELI Program Office, e-mail Diana Vreeland, Director, at dvreelan@nmu.edu

Who should I contact for immigration and/or international information? To contact the International Program Office, call 1+906-227-2510, e-mail ipo@nmu.edu, or fax 906-227-2533.


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