Center for English as a Second Language (CESL), Southern Illinois University – USA
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Center for English as a Second Language (CESL), Southern Illinois University – USA

Southern Illinois University (SIU) is a diverse and welcoming university, based in Illinois in the USA. The Center for English as a Second Language (CESL) at SIU has a proud history, dating back to 1966. With 50 years of experience offering excellent English Language courses, CESL offers international students the chance to improve their English skills and to be part of American student life.

Learn English at CESL in the United States of America

CESL gives international students the English the skills they need to learn, study and live in the USA.  Students learn through a mix of high quality teaching and fun lessons, and are able to develop the skills and knowledge they need to do well in their further studies.

Students get to learn about American culture, which helps them to understand life in the USA and helps them feel at home.

The Intensive English Program offered by CESL is an 8 week course that runs 6 times a year. The course includes between 18 to 25 hours per week of studying in the classroom and taking part in lessons.

The course covers:

  • Speaking
  • Listening
  • Reading
  • Writing

Students can even take part in TOEFL classes if they want to improve their-test taking skills. The course is offered at 9 different grades, from beginner to undergraduate and graduate, so each student can learn the skills that match their own level. Class sizes are small, meaning that teachers can give each student as much help as they need.

Students who want to go on to study at graduate-school can take the Graduate Student English course to help prepare them for further study in the USA. These students will develop skills in giving presentations, reviews, and high level reading.


The Center for English as a Second Language celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, after helping students learn English and improve their language skills for half a century. Past and present students have been sharing their memories and experiences of being part of CESL and the year-long celebrations include a range of fun and exciting activities. All students can enjoy CESL@50 and can join in being part of the Center’s community and proud history.

Once in a lifetime experience in America

As part of Southern Illinois University, CESL students are able to use all the facilities on the Carbondale campus. Students can get help with their studies in the Skills Center, sign up with the Conversation Partners program or work in one of the CESL language labs. The campus is very beautiful, with an on-site forest and even a lake. Carbondale has also been named the state of Illinois’ ‘best small city’ for its range of things to do and places to go, easy access to cities such as Chicago and its affordable cost of living.

Keep up to date with the SIU’s Center for English as Second Language on their website or Facebook page.