English as a Second Language

It is important to become proficient in English to make your stay in the USA a good one. You will probably be required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) before you will be admitted to a USA college or university. The school may also have additional tests for graduate students who are prospective teaching assistants.

This section provides information about English proficiency testing, intensive English classes, teaching styles, and common English usage errors, among other topics.

English Proficiency Testing

Most schools require the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The TOEFL tests your proficiency in English reading and writing.

English and TOEFL Preparation Sites

A resource for finding English and TOEFL preparations sites.

Teaching Styles

You will find that teaching styles in the USA are much different than those in other countries.

English-English Dictionary

Here’s a short dictionary of some of the more common differences in word usage between British English and American English.

Common Usage Errors

The type of errors international students make depends a lot on the structure of their native language.

Intensive English Classes

Immersion is the best way to learn any language, especially English.

Professional Associations for ESL

Except for ACCET, these organizations do not grant accreditation to intensive English programs.

British English and American English

British English and American English have significantly different vocabulary and usage. Do not assume that because you a proficient in British English that American English will be easy.


The following glossary focuses on terms that are more specific to international students studying in the US.


Some Americans will have difficulty understanding you, because it will sound like one continuous stream of syllables to them.