Students' Stories

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In the words of ELI graduates, here is what the ELI experience means: 



We interviewed Jinqi after she had returned to China. 

Why did you choose to study at ELI? Someone from my university [in China] told me about JSU, and I decided it was a good place to learn. We studied at ELI for two months before we started undergraduate classes.

What did you like about studying at ELI? The teachers and staff were very helpful, and I felt very free to ask any question. Especially, Ms. Susan is very sweet and she helped me a lot.

What was your favorite class at ELI? Why? My favorite class was Grammar. Improving my grammar is important to me, and I got what I wanted.

Would you recommend ELI to friends?What would you tell them? Yes, absolutely! I would like to tell them that ELI is a great place to learn English, and to learn about studying at an American university. A student can learn a lot here and have fun at the same time. It was well worth the cost.

What are you doing these days? Do you use English? I am preparing my graduation dissertation. And yes, I use English!


When I came to ELI I did not know anything. I couldn’t speak English very well. I could only say “Yes” and “No” and a few simple sentences.

After a few months of studying I could speak very well. I started taking the IELTS exams and received low grades, but after a few more months of studying I passed the IELTS exam and was able to continue my studies at the university with the degree that I want to study.

During my time here at ELI there are a few things that I have enjoyed the most. I think that it is a great experience living in Jacksonville because it is a quiet city where I can relax and spend time with my friends, and study when I need to. However, the most enjoyable part of studying at ELI is the teachers. My teachers have helped me improve my language every day. They spend time with me in class and out of class to help me accomplish my goals. I enjoy the variety of classes that I have at ELI because there are very academic classes as well as fun and social classes.

I am sad to say that I will be leaving ELI at the end of the summer, but I will always remember my time here, how my English has improved and I am certain I will stay in touch with my teachers for many years!



Hello, my name is Irma, and I am from the Congo in Africa. When I came to ELI I didn't know much English and I was too shy to use the little English that I did know. Everybody here at ELI helped me speak more and become confident with English. Even though my English was not the best at the beginning, my teachers constantly encouraged me to use the language and practice every day.

I studied at ELI for 6 months before I started studying Business Management at Jacksonville State University. Those 6 months helped me become comfortable using English in the classroom and understand how to truly study at the University. Some of my favorite memories from my time at ELI are the field trips we took. We had a great time traveling to museums in Birmingham, taking local trips to learn about Jacksonville, and going to campus events.

I will always remember my time at ELI with a smile and when I graduate in 2 years with a degree from a U.S. university, I will think back on how ELI was my first step to fulfilling this dream.




My name is Obaid and I am from United Arab Emirates. I came to ELI at Jacksonville State University in March of 2015.

When I came to ELI my English was okay, I could understand people, but I was afraid to speak with others. I was hesitant that people would not understand what I was talking about. So, I tried to speak with my teachers very much and learn the American accent and be able to communicate with other students and people here. After my second month of studying English at ELI I felt that my speaking had improved because I had a teacher who focused on my ability to communicate. My pronunciation also improved, and I felt that my confidence in speaking English was much higher.

I enjoyed being at ELI because of the environment I studied in. I felt like the group of students was a good family and people supported me. I made friends who I still spend time with today. My time at ELI was a great start to my time here as a college student.


My name is Yuejiao, but everyone calls me Crystal. I come from China. As a 19-year-old international student, it wasn't easy to study oversea alone. However, the teachers and staff in ELI helped me and walked with me through the toughest times.

In ELI, I made friends from different countries; I learned English and American culture; I had the most precious experience. I soon passed the TOEFL exam and entered JSU. Four years later, I graduated from JSU with a Marketing degree, GPA 3.6. After one year working experience in a Marketing corporation as an Event Specialist, I decided to go back to JSU to pursue my masters degree. Last December I graduated with an MBA.

A paragraph or two cannot express my experience in the ELI and JSU, but I can say that those are the most precious years I have had in my life.


Hello, my name is Tam. I am from Thailand. I used to attend the English Language Institute at Jacksonville State University.

I had great experiences when I attended ELI. I got a chance to meet people from different countries and different nationalities. I also got the chance to study English the whole day with expert teachers.

ELI helped me to prepare for the university. Not only that, ELI also helped me prepare for SAT, ACT, TOEFL, and a lot more. Now, I am majoring in Business Management at JSU.

I really enjoyed the time when I was in ELI. I am really thankful for having such amazing teachers. I am now on my own and I will do my best.

Irma, Aziz, Ahmed, and Iko