Classes focused on real life conversations using English.

Most group sponsors choose our standard program of English conversation and culture, which has students speaking English in class and in the community from Day One!  Each class focuses on real-life conversation and getting students to use English with each other, their teacher, with UH students, and with people in the community.  Classes are non-threatenting, lively, interactive, and practical. Group escorts are often amazed at the difference they see in their students’ level of confidence in speaking English, even in short programs!

All Special English Programs include special features which work together to create a welcoming, challenging, mind-opening, and fun study program.

Standard Program Features

Welcome Reception
Each program begins with a Welcome Reception where students meet SEP staff and their instructors. After introductions, students, staff and faculty begin interacting in English over refreshments, setting a friendly and relaxed tone for the study program to follow.

Campus and Program Orientation
On the first day, students receive an orientation packet which includes a Student Handbook, campus map, and other useful materials. The orientation introduces the group’s planned program, any special features and policies, and the University of Hawai‘i campus and community resources. A special mention is made of safety in Hawai‘i, including important “do’s and don’ts,” places to avoid, and helpful tips on avoiding and handling problems that may arise.

Students are introduced to the UH Manoa campus and its services by touring the facilities that SEP students are welcome to use. The tour includes the University of Hawai‘i’s two world-class libraries, the student health center, computer labs, cafeterias, and athletic facilities.

Placement Testing
For groups that are to be divided into two or more classes, a placement test is administered on the first day. This “in-house” test focuses on understanding conversational structures in practical everyday situations. Besides providing a means of dividing students into levels of similar ability, it also provides the instructors with valuable insight into the students’ English level.

Class Size
The average SEP class size is around 13. A maximum of 15 students may be placed into one class.

Conversation Partners – “Interchange”
Perhaps the program’s most popular feature is “Interchange,” where SEP students are partnered with University of Hawai‘i students for conversation, usually two times each week for 50-minute sessions. Interchange is held during regular program hours, and the instructor provides material for discussion and generally oversees the sessions. Interchange is a great way to meet Americans, practice English, and learn about life in Hawai‘i from a university student perspective.

Contact with the Community
Off-campus activities expose students to the Honolulu community, where they can enjoy the beauty of Hawai‘i, while they experience a variety of situations in which to use English and learn about American and Hawaiian culture. Most activities are planned by the instructors with input from their students after arrival. However, program sponsors may request that specific activities be included. Examples of activities: Visits to Bishop Museum, Waikiki Aquarium, local newspaper office or television studio, or an ukulele factory; twilight concerts at the Honolulu Zoo; speaking assignments at local shopping malls; sampling traditional Hawaiian food; hiking to the top of Diamond Head while learning about its historical and geological significance. The possibilities are endless!

Because activities vary greatly from class to class, expenses incurred for these activities (entrance fees, transportation, meals, etc.) are paid by each student. Every effort is made to plan activities that are within our students’ budgets. On average, students spend $10/week or less on off-campus activities.

Culture Workshop
Each session, students take a break from regular class to attend a special participatory workshop designed to give students an opportunity to experience some aspect of life in Hawai‘i. Examples: Hawaiian Hula, rhythms of American music and dance, Lei-making, American body language.

“Graduation” – Certificates
Most SEPs conclude with a closing luncheon and program, held in a banquet room at either a hotel in Waikiki or on the UH campus. Students are actively involved in the program by providing speeches and class entertainment. Details of the program are coordinated with the SEP staff and programs escorts.

Students who meet the program requirements for performance and attendance in programs of 20 hours or more are presented with University of Hawai‘i certificates. “Graduation” day always provides students with one last, special memory of their study program at the University of Hawai‘i!

Sample Schedules
View sample schedules.

Special Services
Standard program arrangements include the study program only. Of course, there are many additional considerations important to the success of a Special English Program. With plenty of advance notice, SEP staff is happy to assist sponsors in making arrangements for housing and meals, for transportation to and from the airport, and for additional extracurricular activities. Please note that an administrative fee is charged when International Programs provides these additional services. Click here for more information.