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Dr. Emily Boersma, director of the ELIC.

Opening the Door: English Language and Intercultural Center assists in language development, cultural integration

Thursday, May 4, 2023

Media Contact: Kelli Norton | Communication Specialist | 405-744-5496 |

Oklahoma State University’s English Language and Intercultural Center (ELIC) officially reopened its doors in fall 2022, building on 40 years of English Language instruction on campus.

The ELIC was previously known as the English Language Institute, but after COVID-19 halted international students studying abroad, the ELIC seized this time to reorganize its structure andcurriculum, expand its offerings and change its name to better describe the programs and services offered.  

One of ELIC’s first significant expansion initiatives on the intercultural side was to welcome 72 Afghan families who arrived in Stillwater in early November 2021. By partnering with various organizations, volunteers, teachers, and tutors, the ELIC provided the new arrivals with language and intercultural support. The unit collaborates with OSU’s highly acclaimed TESOL/Linguistics program in the Department of English to provide instructors for English classes.  

Students can enroll in two different programs: community engagement or the academic English track. The community engagement track offers everyday intercultural communication skills needed to succeed during authentic English exchanges. The latter track prepares students with the necessary skills to succeed in OSU coursework. By taking an integrated approach, students 
circulate between language instruction, application and cultural enrichment activities to acquire a well-rounded English language experience.  

Dr. Emily Boersma, director of the ELIC, joined the center in 2022. Her career has been built on teaching English as a second language in Latin America, Japan, and Africa, and running ELI Centers across the globe.  

“I’m excited to see this center begin to grow,” Boersma said. “I look forward to having students from all over the world enroll in our center.”

As of the spring 2023 semester, the ELIC has seen students from Japan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Latin America, Afghanistan and Bolivia.

Boersma has goals for the ELIC to become a bridging center for students who didn’t have high enough Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores to gain admission to OSU. If the students complete a 12-week course with the center, they could be admitted to OSU.  

She also wants to develop the intercultural side of the unit and provide workshops across campus and state to help instructors, professors and lecturers accommodate non-native speakers in their classrooms. 

Photos By: Kelli Norton
Story By: Kelli Norton | GLOBAL Magazine

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