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Frequently Asked Questions

The following is a list of questions often asked by students planning to attend the International English Institute (IEI).

1) Is the program designed mainly for students planning to go to a university in the United States?

The IEI program is both for university-directed students and for students who want English skills for other reasons, such as business, personal goals, and living abroad. University-bound students usually direct some of their study toward specific preparation for the TOEFL and Michigan Proficiency examinations.

IEI does not guarantee admission to any university without an acceptable TOEFL or Michigan score. In reality, every student who has finished Level VI has made the test score necessary to enter a suitable university. Also, at the end of Level 6, IEI may recommend a student to some university without a TOEFL score, but no student who finished 6 has ever needed such academic recommendation for admission because they have already obtained the necessary scores.

2) What is the course schedule like at IEI?

Full-time students attend class 20-25 hours per week, five hours per day, 5 days a week. Twenty hours per week is considered full-time; however, we offer an additional reading laboratory for no additional fee, which brings the total hours per week to 25 for a full-time student.

Classes usually begin at 9 AM and continue to 4 PM. A computer lab is offered to those students in Writing levels 4, 5, and 6. Reading and Listening Labs run throughout the day. Students have a lunch break during from 12:00 - 1:00 PM: they may stay at IEI and eat a "sack lunch," or go to nearby international or fast food restaurants.

Each full-time student takes 5 classes: writing, grammar, conversation, listening, and reading lab. Each class is taught by an experienced teacher with a Masters or Ph.D., and with advanced study in ESL. Our faculty also has international experience of teaching overseas. All are of the highest quality.

We offer six levels of each class. Students are placed in a level according to their placement examinations given on registration day. Through the first week, new students are re-evaluated and changes are made in case they are placed too high or too low.

Students have daily homework in writing, grammar and conversation. The homework usually averages one hour of work per class; however, on some days, more time may be required than on other days. For instance, on the day a composition is due, the good student will naturally spend extra time on the composition. IEI has regular tests, including mid-term tests in the 4 th week and final tests at the end of the term. In addition, on the 34 th day of the term, all students take standardized tests like the test they took on registration day to gauge their improvement. When the student achieves the goals of the level, the student moves up to the next level the following term.

Sometimes students repeat a level because they have not achieved the objectives of their current level and cannot go to the next level of difficulty. This situation is understandable. The student will repeat the level using different textbooks in order to give additional time to master the material. If the student has worked hard, there is no disgrace in repeating a level.

3) What kinds of cultural and recreational activities are available?

IEI wants students to do well academically and socially. Therefore, the Institute has an active social program, usually 3-5 parties or events each term. Some of these events are within the Nashville community, such as concerts at the universities or Tennessee Performing Arts Center. Other events are just for IEI and friends. These include picnics, lake parties, campouts, "white water" rafting, traditional parties for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine's Day and Halloween, bowling, tennis and many others.

In addition to the social and American cultural events, IEI offers opportunities for students to present their own cultures. We have two events that are very popular with the students: international lunch and cultural fair. At international lunch students bring their favorite dish from their country and share it "pot luck" style with the other students. Cultural fair offers the students the opportunity to tell and show other students and people their country and culture.

4) What are the housing possibilities?

IEI assists students in finding suitable housing. We have a housing coordinator who works closely with students to make sure that they are happy and comfortable in their new homes. IEI recommends living with a native speaker in a homestay situation. The native speaker may be a traditional family with a father, a mother and children; a husband and wife without children; a single parent; a single professional person who has time and interest to share with an international; or an older or retired couple. IEI students have had good experiences in all types of homestays. Students pay the host $550.00 per month, which includes 14 meals each week. This arrangement is between the student and the host. IEI charges a one-time placement fee of $150 to assist with housing.

Sometimes, students want apartments. IEI will help the student in the process of renting an apartment; however, apartments are usually more expensive. By the time two students pay apartment rent, utilities (electricity, water and telephone), and food, the student may spend more than for the other types of housing. Three or more students sharing an apartment can save expenses. Rent for an unfurnished two-bedroom apartment in this area is around $650-$800 per month, and utilities can be estimated at $150 per month.

IEI does not recommend that students from the same country share an apartment or homestay because they will speak their own language too much, which is likely to impede on their progress in learning English.

5) What is the composition of the IEI student body?

At different times, IEI has had different nationalities as the largest group for a term. These groups have included Venezuelans, Iranians, Koreans, Saudi Arabians, Japanese, and Brazilians. There have been as many as 24 different countries represented at a given time. These include Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, Burma, China, Colombia, Mexico, Honduras, Martinique, Puerto Rico, El Salvador, Peru, Poland, Brazil, Libya, Iraq, Turkey, Argentina, Syria, Jordan, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Pakistan, Indonesia, Paraguay, Chile, Spain, Ecuador, Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, Uzbekistan, France, Germany, Mauritania, Switzerland, Yugoslavia, Romania, Ghana, Ethiopia, Senegal, Guinea, Zaire, and Zimbabwe.

Each term, some student's finish and leave, and new students join. Every term is different; there is no way to know at the time of enrollment what the composition will be when a student actually enters. Each student will hear and is encouraged to speak much English during the term at IEI, and students meet and become friends with people from other countries.

6) What about health and accident insurance?

Every student who drives must have liability car insurance to comply with Tennessee state law. Collision car insurance is optional but it is a good idea if the student can afford it. All F1 students and dependants, whether drivers or not, are required to have health and accident insurance because medical costs in the United States are very high. You may bring insurance from your country, which is accepted, in the U.S., or you may purchase health insurance from IEI.

7) What about getting a credit card?

Many students want to have credit cards, such as Master Card, Visa, and American Express . However, it is almost impossible for student to get these cards in the United States. If you want a credit card, you need to apply for one while you are still in your own country. You will have a much better chance of getting a credit card in your home country than you will in the United States.

IEI does not take credit card payments for tuition and fees.

8) What about spending money?

Students should plan to bring money above their tuition, housing and food expenses. You will find expenses in transportation (bus or taxi, if you do not drive a car), long distance phone calls, social events, personal needs and gifts.

9) What about calling home?

Students should purchase telephone cards that are good for phoning long distance from any telephone. Students can purchase these cards from the internet, or many different stores or at the airport once they come to the US.