Department of Linguistics University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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For Students

English Language Opportunities

This is a list of language learning opportunities at the University of Illinois and the surrounding Urbana-Champaign Community. Please contact the programs directly.

University of Illinois ESL Courses

For Postdoctoral students and Visiting Scholars: ESL 502, 503
For Graduate Students: ESL 500, 501, 502, 503
For Undergraduate Students: ESL 113, 114, 115, 110
For Executive Development Center Students: ESL 505
For Current and Prospective International Teaching Assistants: ESL 504, 506
For Non-Students: Special English Class (SEC)

A list of approved tutors is also available. Click here for more information.

Special English Class (SEC)

The Special English Class (SEC) is an intensive English conversation class for non-UIUC students, offered by the teaching practicum for the MATESL program in the Linguistics Department.

The SEC is usually offered in the Fall and Spring semesters (please check the website to see if the class is being offered). Registration for placement interviews begins at the start of the semester.

For more information about the SEC and to contact the coordinator, go to their webpage.

University of Illinois Library Resources

A guide to support international students in ESL 112 and 115 and beyond:

A guide to the University Library for English as a Second Language graduate students:

Writers’ Workshop, 251 Undergraduate Library:

Other English Language Opportunities for You and Your Family

University of Illinois Intensive English Institute

Intensive English Institute Contact Info

Suite 210, Tech Plaza
616 E. Green Street, Champaign
Phone: 217 333-6598

Parkland College
Offers FREE classes in Basic Communication Skills for Everyday Life to all refugees and immigrants, and non-native speakers with limited English proficiency. There are also Pre-college ESL and Intensive ESL classes available.
Phone: 217-351-2580

Adult Education
These basic ESL classes are free and open to anyone. Interested students should contact Dede Brown (351-2580).
Urbana Adult Education, 211 N. Race, Urbana, 384-3530.
Classes in many areas including English are offered.

Privately Owned ESL Institutes

The English Center
610 S. 6th Street, Champaign, 344-3310.

International Hospitality Committee
Conversation classes. Free, but a textbook required for some classes. Classes held at various locations, including Orchard Downs and the basement lounge of the Goodwin & Green apartments at 300 South Goodwin, Urbana, Contact Vivienne Mackie at 328-1569,

International Friend/Host Family Program
Contact Nancy McGlathery

ESL Classes offered by Local Churches

Temple Baptist Church
1100 Broadmoor, Champaign.

Free classes on Friday 7-8 p.m., childcare and transportation provided.

First United Methodist Church of Urbana
304 S. Race Street, Urbana
Phone: 217-356-7238
Offers conversational English class twice a week: Monday at 6:30 pm and Thursday at 10 am Phone: 217-367-8384

Mattis Avenue Free Methodist Church
1913 S Mattis Ave, Champaign (between Kirby Ave and Windsor Rd) Free English conversation classes. Groups are small and informal. For days and times contact Helen Kaufmann at or telephone 217-328-1770 or 217-355-5947.

First Presbyterian Church of Champaign
302 W. Church Street., Champaign
Phone: 217-356-7238
Offers beginning English classes. Monday through Thursday; 1:00 pm – 3 pm. Childcare provided for children five years and under.

Tutors, Mentors and Conversation Partners

For more information about approved ESL tutors, click here.

Global Partners
Conversation partners, especially for spouses of University students. Contact Susan Taylor at the Weston Exploration Office (244-9700).
Project READ/ESL: For a free tutor for basic ESL skills, contact Project READ at the Champaign Public Library, 356-1542.

ESL Drop-In Center
Basement of First United Methodist Church of Urbana, 304 S.Race, 367-8384. Free tutors are available for help with class work or informal conversation. No formal lessons. Fridays 1-3 p.m. and Wednesdays 7-9 p.m.

Social Gatherings

English Corner
This English Corner will take place every Monday from 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm at the Campus House on the corner of Lincoln and Oregon. The English Corner is sponsored by Christian Campus Fellowship, but the purpose of this weekly meeting is to give international students an opportunity to practice English with American students in a comfortable setting. It is not a religious or worship meeting. Learn more at

International Coffeehouse
The Etc. Coffeehouse at the corner of Goodwin and Green hosts an English Conversation meeting on Fridays from 4:00 to 6:00 pm. See their website at

International Friendship Link
This organization is part of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at UIUC. Their group consists of UIUC students and members of the community. They look to build friendships with international students, visiting scholars, postdocs and their families through informal events that they sponsor. Their website is

Other Conversation Tables
Almost every language that is studied on this campus has either a conversation table, in which just the language that is studied is spoken, or a language exchange meeting, in which half the time is spent in one language, and half the time in English. Call the department and find out!