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English Language Programs

book group

The following ESL programs are held at the International Center at 21 University Circle.

Programs are open to ESL learners at U.Va. and in the local community.

Summer Reading and Conversation Group

Tuesdays, 12 —2 PM

June 3 - July 8

Participants read and discuss famous essays and speeches. The group will also discuss a variety of cultural topics. This is an informal opportunity to improve English skills, make friends, and share cultures. The group is led by volunteers. No registration or fee is required.

Book Discussion Group

Tuesdays, 10:30 AM—12 PM

February 4 - April 29; fall date TBA

Participants read and discuss literature. This is an informal opportunity to improve English reading skills and your understanding of the English language. The group is led by volunteers. No registration or fee is required.


English Conversation Group

Tuesdays, 12:30 - 2:00 pm

January 14 - April 29; fall date TBA

Participants gather informally for conversation. This is an opportunity to make friends, improve English skills, and share cultures. The group is led by volunteers. No registration or fee is required.

Culture and Customs in the U.S. - An Overview for English Language Learners

Thursdays, 11:30 am – 1:30 pm

January 30 - April 17 (not meeting 3/13)

Using articles from newspapers and magazines as a basis, the group explores American attitudes about contemporary topics such as education, marriage and family life, home ownership, religious traditions, politics, and business and social customs. Particular emphasis is on helping participants build new vocabulary and better understand idioms. Participants have opportunities to engage in discussion, ask questions, and explore cross-cultural differences and similarities. For intermediate to advanced English language learners. The group is led by a volunteer. No registration or fee is required.

Article for:

1/30 - "Weed: Been There. Done That." by David Brooks

2/6 - "Michelle Obama Edges Into a Policy Role on Higher Education" by Jennifer Steinhauer

2/20 - "The Changing American Family" by Natalie Angier. The group will read an edited version of the first article and stop at "The Baby Boom for Gay Parents."

2/27 - "5 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Work Too Hard" by Brigid Schulte

3/6 - "Guest-Teaching Chinese, and Learning America" by Sam Dillon

3/13 - No class

3/20 - "How to Get a Job at Google" by Thomas L. Friedman

3/27 - "Sheryl Sandberg and Anna Maria Chavez on 'Bossy,' the Other B-Word" by Sheryl Sandberg and Anna Maria Chavez

4/3 - "Adopted in China, Seeking Identity in America" by Lynette Clemetson

4/10 - "Kids These Days: Growing Up Too Fast or Never At All?" by NPR Staff

4/17 - No article to read in advance. The group will discuss real estate and read publications about it in class.


New Application Process for Multiskills English and Advanced Oral Communication

Starting spring 2014, we will implement a new application process for the classes below in order to place students in the most suitable class(es) in advance. Students will be enrolled before classes start following the steps outlined below. We will accept students on a rolling basis until classes are full before they begin. 


Please check back in August for fall 2014 dates and interest form.

Application steps:

  1. Complete the online interest form. This does not enroll you in any class.
  2. Meet with the instructor before classes to assess your English level.
  3. After the instructor places you in a class, we will send you the online student application.
  4. Submit your payment on the first day of class.

For questions, please email the International Center at

Multiskills English For Speakers of Other Languages

Mondays and Wednesdays, 9:00–11:00 am and 11:30 am-1:30 pm (students select one section)

Fall dates TBA
This class focuses on the areas of vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation to reinforce listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills for the intermediate to advanced student. Non-credit course fee for 40 hours of instruction is $200.

Advanced Oral Communication

Thursdays, 9:00 - 11:00 am

Fall dates TBA
This class is designed to help students already proficient in English to speak fluently, accurately, and with the rhythm and intonation patterns of American English. Students will learn phrasal verbs and review parts of speech through interactive tasks such as role-play, debate, and discussion. There is weekly written homework.  Non-credit course fee for 20 hours of instruction is $150.


**The University reserves the right to make changes to future course fees.



Other English Opportunities:


Opportunities listed below are provided for your information.  They do not indicate an endorsement by the International Center and may not apply to your situation.


U.Va.’s Center for American English Language and Culture – classes and language consultants

Albemarle County Adult Education - classes

Charlottesville City Schools Adult Learning Center - classes and conversation groups


Piedmont Virginia Community College - classes


Speak! Language Center - individual lessons


Literacy Volunteers Charlottesville/Albemarle - tutors