Student Comments About Their Experience
Studying in the English Language Institute


English! It was my enemy for a long, long time. I was wrestling with the enemy, but the outcome was not good, and I wanted to give up this patient game. I was tired.

But one day I had to play the game again as a student at UHM. I was fearful once again, because I had never defeated my enemy…

But I eventually won my wrestling match with English (which is no longer my enemy) thanks to the allied army of ELI teachers. They are very friendly and excellent strategists who know how to overcome the many barriers that most international students have in learning English.

Since I graduated from the ELI, I still keep in touch with the ELI teachers. Whenever I ask them to help me out, they happily do so.  For example, they let me know useful websites which show how to improve my English skills. I really appreciate that. If you have the same fear as I had, knock at the door of the ELI.

SeongWon Park
MA Student in Futures Studies in
the Department of Political Science


I took two ELI courses: ELI 82, Advanced ESL Reading, and ELI 73, Writing for Foreign Students. They turned out to be very helpful for my core courses which had a lot of readings packed with unfamiliar vocabulary.  Various strategies were introduced during the reading course which really helped me handle the massive amounts of reading with ease. Most of the strategies worked well for me. I have also learned a great deal of vocabulary that is crucial for my academic field. I not only learned the meaning of the words, but also the way of using them correctly.

More importantly, The ELI gave me exposure to international students from many countries. There were so many things I have learned from my peers! Through learning about my peers’ interests, fields of study, and cultures, I discovered many things to a depth that I have never known before. We did a lot of group activities, such as discussions and sharing ideas on particular topics that were chosen by team members based on individuals’ interests. Because of this, we gradually built friendships, and some of us still keep in touch.

Lastly, the ELI instructors were really eager to help the students with all the problems that arose throughout the courses. Their dedication alone served to teach us many unspoken lessons that many will carry with us as we progress in life.

Sirichoke (Sam) Namsong, Thailand
MA Candidate, Educational Technology


I highly appreciate the ELI. The program is carefully designed to help international students step by step in adapting to the new learning environment. In class, students not only improve their English reading, listening comprehension and writing skills, but also other advanced academic skills such as presentation, participative discussion, active reading and writing. The assignments in writing  (citation, quotation, free writing, literature reviews), listening and speaking (presentation, free speaking) and reading (fast reading, comprehensive reading, speed reading) are effective practical exercises which have helped me to be aware of my weak points which I should work to improve, and have also emphasized my strengths.

I am particularly grateful to my instructors who are enthusiastic, knowledgeable and skillful at English teaching. They provided me essential guidance on academic English skills that substantially helped me progress in my graduate classes. Students are all also welcome to drop in either by appointment or casually, to the instructors’ office to consult on their assignments or related activities. I have been progressively equipped with new life skills, and I am sure these will further accumulate—thanks to the ELI.

I would like to convey to the ELI program my sincere thanks for the very well-organized and useful English classes.

Thuy Thi Minh Nguyen
Masters of Public Administration


Although I was not required to take ELI courses according to the university's criteria, I decided to attend the advanced graduate writing course in order to further improve my English language ability. The class turned out to be extremely helpful in terms of greatly enhancing my understanding of academic writing conventions as well as my knowledge of academic vocabulary, primarily through the intensive, but also interesting and worthwhile "CAP" project.

In addition we were also encouraged to think and write freely for the writing workshops, journals, and other in-class writing. This very much stimulated my enthusiasm partly because I come from a country and culture where free thinking is usually not encouraged. I would like to say that I really learned very much from both the class and the wonderful instructors.

Long Chen, PR China--
PhD Candidate, Ocean Engineering


During my first two semesters of being back in school, taking ELI classes was the most useful and helpful experience I had since I enrolled in the graduate program in the Department of Communication at U.H. Because I obtained my Bachelor's diploma in the Ukraine, taking ELI classes was essential for me so that I could come to understand the unique characteristics and requirements of academic writing in an American university. In addition, my ELI teachers demonstrated a great degree of understanding the different needs of international students, especially in terms of improving our writing skills. The instructors were always willing to spend their time to provide us with effective advice and information to apply to any areas of students' concerns. I would highly recommend taking ELI classes, especially to those students, who like me, hadn't taken any advanced English language classes in the U.S.

Elena Roud, the Ukraine--
M.A., Organizational Communication


The course of ELI 83, advanced writing for nonnative English speaking graduate students was very helpful for my graduate study. I highly evaluate this course. There are mainly two reasons-- the fact that it is designed for graduate students and the excellent instruction.

The tasks and assignments of the course were useful to assist me in becoming aware of writing conventions for my academic field, Dance Ethnology. Secondly, the class was very well organized, and I was extremely satisfied with the teaching of our instructor. In addition to the major writing assignments, we also had several Internet assignments and class discussions which are very useful for both my current and future graduate study. For example, the Internet assignments were about Plagiarism, Discourses, Netiquette, and Referencing. Furthermore, we had discussion sessions with the instructor and students about materials in the textbook, assignments, and grammatical problems in both big and small groups. These 16 weeks of activities are definitely helpful and useful for graduate students. The most helpful thing the instructor did was periodic individual conferences with each student during which he advised me about my particular writing characteristics and helped me become aware of my weak points for improving my writing. His analysis of my writing skill and writing problems was very impressive and helpful.

To conclude, the ELI courses are very helpful for nonnative English speaking students. We often hesitate to ask even small questions which we are afraid that other American students might generally know the answer to, and the question is hardly considered a great question in graduate classes. The ELI class is a place for us to solve these problems, and then get our confidence for being able to participate fully in graduate classes.

Izumi Sato, Japan--
MA Candidate, Dance Ethnology


Like many international students, I was required to take several ELI classes. And like many other students, at first I thought it would just be a burden and a waste of time which takes away from my other courses. After finishing ELI courses, however, I have come to realize how much I have learned! It was a great experience to take ELI classes because I could improve my overall academic language abilities and study skills. For example, I learned how to successfully prepare for and deliver a good class presentation, how to write an academic essay, and how to read academic materials more effectively.

Also, all of my instructors very kindly tried to help and advise me whenever I encountered either academic or cultural adjustment problems. Even though I'm no longer taking ELI classes, I continue to consult with my previous ELI teachers who generously give me very useful advice. I really appreciate the professionalism, teaching ability and assistance of the ELI instructors.

Young-Kwi, Korea--
BA, Liberal Arts/Second Language Studies


I'm currently enrolled in ELI 80, advanced listening/speaking. The course work is practical, effective, and related to real-life situations. Instead of being didactic, it allows the students to interact freely through class discussion and other assignments, and helps us to communicate with others. In addition, I have learnt a lot of things from the Expert Interview, such as how to interact with others and how to conduct an interview.

ELI 80 has a progressive approach, instead of being an end-result oriented approach. Each and every class builds a certain amount of confidence in the students and enables us to feel more comfortable to communicate with people in a more effective and competent manner.

Shankar Munusamy, India--
PhD Candidate, Bio-medical Engineering


It’s a great opportunity for me that UHM provides English courses for foreigner students. It’s advantageous to me because it helps me improve academic English skills, including speaking, reading and writing. If I wanted to take English courses with a professional teacher outside of U.H. it would cost me a lot. Fortunately, there is the ELI at UHM with professional teachers and excellent instruction. Although, sometimes, I admit it is time-consuming for me to do ELI homework, it’s OK because ELI assignments are organized such that I can do it together with my other homework for my major course work. Academic skills, such as how to give a presentation, we cannot find in the private English classes.

Another reason it’s a good chance that I can take ELI 080 (advanced listening/speaking) is so that I can communicate with foreign students who are not so accustomed to English, like me. I like the ELI!

Nopparat Sukrakarn, Thailand--
M.A. Candidate,


I’m taking ELI Listening class. At first I had assumed that it would not be that helpful that much. But after attending a few classes, I realized that this class is very helpful for international students. It helps us to brush up and increase our listening ability. It also helps us get used to understanding the various accents that people use here. I’m learning a lot from my class. It’s really interesting, and I’m enjoying my class.

Rosalin Pattnaik, India--
M.A. Candidate, ICS


The ELI effectively assists and prepares foreign students like myself to learn and further develop our English ability when we first enter U.H. In addition, the ELI has helped teach me how to adjust to a new academic environment in the U.S. For example, in ELI classes, we learn how to conduct and write research, and how to give a presentation. ELI teachers also encourage students to speak out in class through group discussion and other activities.

I've enjoyed studying in the ELI. Not only did I learn a lot in my classes, but I also met many students from around the world. Thanks to the ELI, I've been able to share and gain new experiences and knowledge through their classes.

Marcelina Turquel, East Timor
MA Student, Human Resource Management Program


Additional Student Comments

To read additional comments we have received from students, click here

To read selected comments from students' ELI course evaluation forms, click here