Intensive English Program

The university (EMU) consists of: (1) Seven graduate-level programs, including a theological seminary; (2) The undergraduate school (four-year bachelor’s degree programs); and (3) The IEP. The IEP is a pre-collegiate course in English language that serves all degree-granting programs of the university. This means that your classmates may be seeking entry into either the undergraduate school or into one of the graduate programs.

While IEP students follow an English language curriculum, they enjoy full university privileges and student body membership. They may become members of the International Student Organization, among other student groups. IEP students may have their coursework for Levels V & VI count toward undergraduate college level after studying two semesters full-time at Eastern Mennonite University.

Because of your studies in the IEP, EMU (Bethel, Hesston, Goshen, Bridgewater colleges or Bluffton University) may give you up to 15 semester hours of credit applied to a bachelor’s degree after you successfully complete the IEP and one full-time semester equivalent of enrollment in EMU.

The Intensive English Program aims:

1. To implement lively intercultural learning on campus among students of diverse cultural backgrounds, learning from each other in such a way as to complement the sending of EMU students and faculty going into the world for cross-cultural study.

2. To develop learners’ cognitive and academic English language skills so that they may succeed in higher studies at EMU or other U.S. institutions of higher learning or advance in their careers.

3. To serve the worldwide Mennonite church by opening the door of Mennonite higher education and leadership training to Mennonite students and others sponsored by Mennonite agencies.

4. To provide short and long term study abroad experiences for internationals who desire to study through immersion in an English-speaking, U.S. cultural context without pursuing a degree from any university.

5. To be a laboratory for training teachers of English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) for EMUstudents in the TESOL minor, as well as Master of Education students with a TESOL concentration. The IEPalso provides English language tutor training.

LILAC Program

Lively Intercultural Learning

Across the Curriculum

LILAC springs from a conviction that we have not yet embraced all the opportunities for scholarly inquiry and cross-cultural encounter that presently exist in our community. Through LILAC projects, IEP classes become partners in intercultural learning with various undergraduate classes at EMU.

Each class works on a special project. IEP students become acquainted with important subjects studied in a variety of classes and are challenged to stretch their language skills in order to interact with American students; they have to use or understand college-level academic language. IEP students also contribute international perspectives to their American partners, enriching the learning experiences of all involved.

How does LILAC embrace these opportunities?

1. By linking undergraduate classes in various disciplines with IEP classes so that personal cross-cultural encounters take place across campus.

2. By instructors in the linked classes agreeing to collaborate on at least one project of relatively short duration that involves students in scholarly inquiry and creates incentives that motivate students to achieve academic excellence.

3. By ensuring that both IEP and EMU undergraduate students have a chance to exercise critical thinking skills, make significant contributions to the learning process, and to work out the implications of cross-cultural perspectives for learning across the disciplines.

What will my studies be like?

Students in our Intensive English Program (IEP) can focus full-time on their English classes, concentrating on building language skills through immersion in a new culture.

IEP students interact with classmates from around the world and with North American EMU students through the LILAC program. These cross-cultural encounters speed the learning process and create lifelong memories.

IEP students are usually planning on higher studies at EMU or another U.S. college or working to advance in their careers all over the globe. In a typical semester, IEP has some 60 to 80 students representing 15 to 20 different countries. 

Highlights of our program

• 20 class hours per week in the basic language skills of listening, speaking, reading, writing, and grammar.

• Individual attention: classes are small (usually 6-12 students), and tutoring is offered one-on-one or in small groups.

• No TOEFL score required: we have our own placement test to ensure you’re in the right level (I-VI).

• Computer equipment: our video/audio equipment and a computer lab will help you improve pronunciation, listening comprehension, reading, research, and written communication skills.

• Earn 15 hours toward your EMU degree by completing Levels V and VI.

• Start college with no TOEFL score required! Study at EMU, other Mennonite colleges in the U.S. or James Madison University based solely on the recommendation of IEP.

Co-Curricular Activities 

The IEP plans co-curricular activities for both education and recreational purposes. 

•Field trips are mandatory. If this presents a hardship, speak to your teacher. 

• You will be assigned to an English-speaking conversation partner.

• You are required to fulfill all the requirements of LILAC partnerships with EMU classes. 

• You are eligible to participate in a wide variety of extracurricular programs of the university. Opportunities include: Music lessons, (instruments, voice, choirs, orchestra, jazz band) intramural sports such as volleyball, basketball, soccer, softball, and tennis, student clubs, publication of your writing in the IEP Times (the IEP newsletter), in the weekly campus newspaper, The Weather Vane, or in EMU’s literary magazine. 

• Full-time students are eligible for all student services such as career counseling, international student services, campus pastoral counseling, and the health center. 

• Full-time students have free access to the gym. 



Why should I study English at Eastern Mennonite University?

If you would like to study at a good university in America but your English language skills are holding you back, this is the right place for you. Several semesters of English language study in America will give you a much better chance of getting into a top university because your English will improve greatly. Applying to top universities from America increases your chances of being successful.  

Will I study at a language school or a real university?

You will be admitted to Eastern Mennonite University and considered a university student in America. The Intensive English Program is a part of the university—its purpose is to prepare international students for academic study in America. 

Where is Eastern Mennonite University?

EMU is located in Harrisonburg, Virginia, about two hours from Washington D.C. Harrisonburg is a small city with several universities that provide a wonderful learning environment.

What kind of a school is Eastern Mennonite University (EMU)?

EMU has a history of almost 100 years. It is a well-recognized liberal arts university that offers majors in many different fields and also has numerous graduate level programs. With about 1,000 undergraduate students, EMU is large enough to provide excellent resources and small enough to give students individual attention in small classes. 

How difficult is it to be admitted to EMU? 

All students who have completed a high school diploma are eligible to apply. There are no special requirements and a high percentage of students who apply are admitted.

What TOEFL score do I need to enter the Intensive English Program?

You do not need to have a TOEFL score to be admitted. After you arrive at EMU you will be tested and enroll in the courses that are appropriate for your level. There are beginning, intermediate and advanced courses available. 

How long will I study language in the IEP before taking regular courses?

Most students benefit from two or three semesters of study in the IEP. For students who come with better English skills, or those who make progress quickly, there is a bridge program that allows them to take both language classes and regular university courses. 

Do I receive any university credit for the English courses I take?

One of the big advantages of the IEP is that if you continue your studies at EMU, you can earn up to one semester (15 hours of credit) for the courses that you take. If you decide to go to a different university, some of the courses may be accepted. 

Do I need to remain at EMU for my university studies?

No, you are free to apply to other universities at any time after your first semester in the Intensive English Program. With improved English skills and your adjustment to life and study in America, your chances of being admitted to a top university are much better than would you remain in China. 

What kind of teachers will I have?

The university has a group of experienced and excellent teachers who are dedicated to their students. They always welcome students to talk with them outside of the class and do their best to help them be successful. 

Where will I live?

Because you are a student at EMU, you will live in one of the university dormitories, just like all other students. Your interaction with other students will help you improve your English very quickly and they will help you in your adjustment to life in America. There are two students in each dorm room, which are modern and excellent facilities. You will eat your meals in a cafeteria on campus. 

Are there special activities for international students?

There are about 60 international students in the Intensive English Program, from many different countries. The university provides trips to historical and scenic places and other activities that help introduce you to life in America. 

How much will it cost to study English at EMU?

Compared to many other schools, both in China and in America, study at EMU is quite inexpensive. Tuition, books, lodging and food will cost approximately $23,000 for two semesters of study. When you consider the rapid improvement in English, the safe and supportive environment, the option to have 15 credit hours (one semester) of credit if you continue your studies at EMU or the option to apply to a top university from America, this is a great value. 

Is Harrisonburg a safe place to live and study?

One of the big advantages of a small city like Harrisonburg and a small university like EMU is that they provide a very safe environment in which to live and study. Unlike larger universities and cities where there is more crime and many safety concerns, you can be certain that you will be in place where your parents will not need to worry about you.  

What kind of support does Mennonite Partners in China provide while I am at EMU?

The director of MPC lives in Harrisonburg. He will get to know you and be available when you have problems and questions. The director and persons at EMU are available to assist you in applying to other universities for further study if you choose to do so.