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For 40 years, the American English Institute (AEI) has provided international students with language assistance in order to prepare for their time away from their respective homelands. AEI has been a part of Fresno State since 1972.

American English Institute hits its 40th year


Haejin Koo (left), an American English Institute student from South Korea,
interviews Philip Lindblad to practice her English skills. The institute,
which celebrated in 40th anniversary yesterday, provides international
students with English language assistance during their time away from their
foreign homelands.
Esteban Cortez / The Collegian

Director Cheryl Chan says program works closely with various departments

For 40 years, the American English Institute (AEI) has provided international students with language assistance in order to prepare for their time away from their respective homelands.

AEI has been a part of Fresno State since 1972.

AEI is known as an “intensive English program” that offers language instruction to those whose first language is not English. Those who are seeking a student visa are also able to obtain required hours through AEI.

In order to stay in the United States and attend school, these students must complete a certain amount of hours. Through AEI, they are given the opportunity to fulfill 20 hours a week by attending English instruction.

The program focuses on preparing students with the necessary academics so that they can go on to transfer to a university. Most of the time, the students who go through the AEI program hope to get into Fresno State.

Director of AEI Cheryl Chan is extensively involved with  organization of the program. She handles every aspect of the program, including paperwork and dealing with the students directly.

“I have oversight over everything that goes on,” Chan said.

AEI works alongside with other on campus organizations in order to give students the opportunity to interact with the different groups.

“We work with the department of recreation administration and some of their students come to fulfill their service learning [hours] here,” Chan said.

Aside from recreation administration, AEI partners up with other groups as well.

“We have a very strong connection with the department of linguistics because we do a lot of teacher training with them,” Chan said.

Students in the department of linguistics observe the classes given by AEI and also work with the international students as conversation partners.

With so many different organizations on campus, gaining transparency is often a task. AEI gains members mostly by word of mouth that circulates on campus.

“Since we’ve been on campus for so long, we’ve had a lot of people who tell others that we’re here. Most of our students now are related to people who have come through the program,” Chan said.

AEI also does some advertising, but Chan said word of mouth has seemed to be most effective.

The 40th anniversary will be an informal party on April 12, and is an open invitation to showcase the progress of AEI students.