"Our commitment and the reason we created the ESL Academy is because we want every international student who comes here to succeed," Carolyn North, assistant vice chancellor for International Affairs at CU Denver, said.
Wednesday night, North and other university leaders celebrated the opening of the English as a Second Language Academy, which is teaching students English during immersed, intensive, 8-week classes.
"Not only verb tenses and grammar, everything they need to know, but also in terms of listening cues when they're listening to lectures," Rebecca Fisher, an academy director, said. "The ESL Academy students will go into CU Denver classrooms and they will practice listening, taking notes and they'll observe what the other students are doing around them."
The Academy has students from China, Brazil, Libya and Saudi Arabia. They are professors, lawyers, doctors, trying to expand their education in America.
"It's a good place to start my international studies," Hussain AlKaraiji from Saudi Arabia said. "This kind of academy fills the gaps to get international students to American universities."
Gabrielle Mattiota wants her masters in business administration. She is from Brazil.
"It's not just a normal English course. We learn more than English. We learn about the culture of the country," Mattiota said.
North says bringing international students to CU Denver is important for the overall experience of the student body.
"Our opportunity to invite international students to be on our campus and in our classrooms is a critical element," North said.
She also says it's smart financially. Last year, she says international students contributed more than $315 million to Colorado colleges and universities. More than $28 million at CU Denver was spent on tuition, fees, and living expenses.
"It's vital to the Colorado economy," North said.
It's vital to students who are making new ties to Colorado.
"When they brought me into the English Academy, I was thinking I don't want to be here, my English is good," Sarah AlSuriz, from Saudi Arabia, said. "But, within two weeks, my English improved a lot. So, I think it's helpful."
(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)