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Chicago Experience at SAELL

At SAELL, we understand that some of the most memorable learning can happen outside of the classroom.  It is our goal to provide our students with a variety of learning opportunities.  In addition, we want them to have a fun and enjoyable experience while studying in Chicago.  With this in mind, we have developed an engaging curriculum in which learning becomes experiential.  With the integration of Chicago Experience into our English Language Curriculum, our English Facilitators take our students into the great city of Chicago throughout the term to discover all of the learning opportunities that await us.

The academic goals of Chicago Experience include:

  • combining classroom and experiential learning with course content
  • preparing international students for their university degree programs
  • increasing students’ language accuracy, fluency and usage
  • developing note-taking, academic writing and speaking skills
  • developing teamwork skills

The survival/social/cultural goals of Chicago Experience include:

  • developing student awareness about their environment and Chicago
  • introducing Chicago and American culture to international students
  • introducing students to the history of America
  • partnering SAELL and Northeastern students to create a learning network
  • helping students to acculturate* to their new community

*A note about the importance of enculturation through the English learning process

The more international students become involved in the city of Chicago and Northeastern, the more likely he or she will feel like they belong.  Many students do not realize how important the enculturation process is to learning a language.  Being able to adapt to a new community and environment will lead to a sense of belonging, which reduces feelings of loneliness, isolation, and learner anxiety.  As a result, students feel connected and supported and become more relaxed and confident both in the classroom and in their everyday life. 

Chicago Experience bridges the gap with Northeastern’s First Year Experience

University instructors and professors often refer to American and Chicago history, politics, culture and architecture throughout their courses.  This is especially true in the First Year Experience course, which is a required course for all Northeastern students.  In this regard, the integration of Chicago Experience within our curriculum will better prepare SAELL students to succeed in their university degree programs.


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