How It Began
Started by Norma Hills, 22 years ago, English for Internationals (EFI) began with just one corporate client who needed to learn English in order to expand his Italian leather business into the U.S. Since then, over 15,000 students from more than 60 countries have studied at English for Internationals. Now with two locations, EFI has the distinction of being the only English as a Second Language (ESL) school with multiple locations in the north metro region.
Students at EFI typically fit into one of two profiles: university student or professional. A student who receives an I-20 from EFI and arrives in Atlanta on a Student Visa is required to study intensively for 18 hours a week. After completing the Program of Study, the student may transfer to a local university or return to their home country to finish their collegiate career.
Many non-immigrant and local professionals attend EFI as well. Improving their grammar and listening/speaking abilities is very important to them. “Often our former students, who have applied their newly acquired English language skills to their profession, have experienced career advancement and find that improving their English proficiency usually results in a more fulfilling work experience,” Norma said.
To join our team, teachers are required to have an undergraduate degree and experience teaching ESL. Several staff members have master’s degrees in Applied Linguistics from local universities, while others have studied academic tracks such as communications, journalism or other related fields. This diversity enhances the quality of instruction received by the students.
ACCET Accredited Program of Study
Classes offered at EFI includes four core classes: grammar, listening/speaking, reading and writing. University-bound students benefit by taking the TOEFL iBT prep course offered at both locations. A variety of special interest and business-related courses are also available throughout the year. New classes begin every two months.
EFI has been assisting internationals with Student Visas since 2002. Whether a student is in their home country or already in the U.S., EFI can walk someone through the steps to acquire a Student Visa. In addition, there is a Designated School Official trained and ready to assist students with immigration issues related to their Student Visas in both Lawrenceville and Roswell.
Fun Outside of the Classroom
Providing experiences unique to American cultural adds value to the students’ time in Georgia. Each October, EFI students partner with the Susan G. Komen Foundation to raise money for breast cancer research. Many excursions are planned during the year, so students can enjoy attractions such as CNN Center, Stone Mountain, the Atlanta and Gwinnett Braves and white water rafting.
As for the future, English for Internationals plans to extend services to the business community by offering on-site corporate ESL classes. “We believe our English classes will have a positive impact on company-wide communication and in many cases improve employee performance,” says Norma.