Free English Conversation Classes begin 05/17/17

WESLI is offering a Free English Conversation Class for WESLI and community members ALL SUMMER! These classes are taught by teachers in WESLI’s Teacher Training Program.

  • No homework!
  • Fun classes!
  • Practice listening and speaking English!

All levels are available for students – beginner, intermediate, and advanced.*

Classes are offered at 10:30am-12:20pm and 1-2:50pm on Wednesdays and Fridays.

You can sign up online here!

We hope to see you in class! 😀

*Some levels may not be available at both class times.

Posted in WESLI News

#YouAreWelcomeHere & Mother Language Day

Happy International Mother Language Day! WESLI celebrates the diverse language backgrounds of all of our students. We put together “welcome” video to let you know that “You Are Welcome Here!”

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Teachers Gave Me Confidence In My English

Arriving at WESLI has been an intimidating experience. I must admit that it was hard at first, the program was demanding and you have to deal with cultural differences every day.

But talking about WESLI is like talking about family – caring teachers and great classmates who take studying English in a professional and friendly environment.

When I started at WESLI, my plan was to stay for two months, but I was confronted with such a deep insecurity that I nearly left the program within the first two weeks! Getting back into the swing of university life isn’t easy for someone who has taken on the working life, but I adjusted quickly with the help of teachers.

That’s when I met Michael, an excellent teacher and human being. I believe that there are few times in life that you meet someone who is capable of making you laugh in two seconds and help you regain confidence in your abilities. For me personally, his support—as well as that of the other instructors—was critical, always demonstrating an incredible, helpful disposition. Without his investment in me, I would not have been able to enjoy my classes, push myself further, and above all else, not forget to always smile.

I can certainly say that being in Madison has been a great experience and being in WESLI is unique, like being at home because of teachers who care.

-Enrique, Chile, Level 400




Llegar a Wesli ha sido una experiencia formidable. Confieso que al principio fue difícil, el programa es exigente y tienes que adecuarte a los cambios multiculturales que enfrentas cada día. Hablar de WESLI es hablar de familia, comprensión y bastante entrega en el ámbito professional.

Cuando comencé, mi idea era estar dos meses, pero me invadió una inseguridad profunda que casi me hace abandonar el programa en las dos primeras semanas. Supongo que retomar la rutina casi universitaria no es fácil para alguien que ha adoptado el ritmo de trabajar.

Fue entonces que conocí a Michel, un excelente docente y ser humano, creo que pocas veces en la vida te encuentras alguien así, capaz de hacerte reír en dos segundos y hacerte retomar la confianza en tus capacidades. En lo personal, para mi fue fundamental el apoyo que existió tanto en él, como en cada uno de los docentes, siempre con una increíble disposición por ayudarte. Sin ello, no habría logrado disfrutar de mis clases, esforzarme más y por sobre todo no olvidar sonreir.

Puedo decir que estar en Madison ha sido una gran experiencia, pero estar en WESLI es único, es como estar en casa.

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Free English Conversation Classes begin 01/18/17

WESLI is offering a Free English Conversation Class for WESLI and community members in January. These classes are taught by teachers in WESLI’s Teacher Training Program.

  • No homework!
  • Fun classes!
  • Practice listening and speaking English!

There are usually 3 levels available for students – beginner, intermediate, and advanced.*

Classes are offered at 10:30am-12:20pm and 1-2:50pm on Wednesdays and Fridays.*

You can sign up online!

We hope to see you in class!  😀

*Availability will depend on students who have applied.

Posted in WESLI News Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Meet Friends, Learn from Great Teachers

WESLI is a good school, a good institute of English for anyone. The staff at WESLI are always available to listen to students who have any problem. The students enjoy themselves and learn more and more because every teacher is there to help them. Also, the classes are small which helps students to learn better and get to know other students. Teachers get to know every student and their individual English skills to work on.

There are free resources at WESLI such as the Writing Center and Conversation Hour. By using these resources, I see how much teachers care about students’ success and how I’ve improved my English, too.

Outside school, my homestay family is very nice, and I’m not bored because we always have something to do. I enjoy talking with them every day. It helps Madison feel like home.

WESLI also organizes some activities, like a trip, to another town in Wisconsin to help students get together. It is very good because you can discover many new things. You can learn more about the culture, the life of American people, and more about WESLI students, too. I’m glad to be here because I am enjoying myself here.

-Brice, Burkina Faso, Level 400

Posted in English Classes

What is a Wisconsinite?

The beautiful people who live in Wisconsin call themselves Wisconsinites. WESLI is located at the heart of downtown Madison–Wisconsin’s state capital. WESLI students quickly learn being a Wisconsinite is more than just a person who loves cheese.

Recently, a group of WESLI students went to a women’s volleyball game. Madison is home to one of the top universities in the world, the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The UW-Madison Volleyball team is known as the Badgers. WESLI students watched the Badgers defeat their opponent in an exciting match. The name of the mascot pictured below with two WESLI students is Bucky Badger. Bucky Badger is a symbol of school spirit and pride. He also represents what it means to be a Wisconsinite—the idea that you are part of a diverse family together as a whole.

During this WESLI activity, our students experienced what it means to be a Wisconsinite. They joined with thousands of individuals who all came together as one.

Through these types of connections and shared experiences, WESLI students discover not only who they are, but also what it means to be a Wisconsinite.

Join us for our next activity! Click here for WESLI’s activity calendar and look at a couple of pictures from the game below!screen-shot-2016-12-02-at-3-37-54-pm




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Trip to Noah’s Ark: America’s largest water park!

One of the most popular WESLI activities of the summer took place on July 30th, 2016. WESLI teacher and student services coordinator, Ryan, went with a group of WESLI students to the world’s largest water park, Noah’s Ark. There was not a cloud in the sky all day and the temperature stayed at 80 degrees Fahrenheit, a perfect summer day in Wisconsin.

The day was filled with water slides, wave pools, lazy rivers, and most importantly, ice cream! Some of the students’ favorite rides were Point of No Return, Scorpion’s Tail, Black Anaconda, and Dark Voyage. If you had to look up one or more of those words in the dictionary you are not alone! The day proved to be a great learning experience for our students. They were very exhausted and slept most of the ride home after spending all day in the sunshine practicing their English with students from around the world.

Join us for our next activity, click here for next session’s calendar and check out a couple of pictures from the trip below!

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WESLI students from all over the world enjoying the beautiful day!

WESLI students from all over the world enjoying the beautiful day!

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Meet Ryan, WESLI’s New Learning Community Coordinator!


Meet Ryan Peterson, WESLI teacher, Dormitory Learning Community Coordinator and all around great guy! Ryan is responsible for welcoming dormitory students, assigning roommates, helping students feel comfortable in Madison and at WESLI, and of course, teaching them English. Ryan is well suited for the job: He has a degree in International Studies from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and then also an ESL teaching certificate from UW-Milwaukee, one of the 26 university and college partners we have in the UW system, where a number of WESLI students continue their studies.

Ryan Peterson is the first WESLI staff member many students meet.

“I pick up dormitory students when they arrive in Madison, so learning at WESLI starts when they literally step off the plane or bus,” Ryan said. “Our oral interviews are the first test of English, and I tell the students that in talking casually with me now, they have just passed their first test!”

And because Ryan actually lives in the WESLI dormitory, he is able to offer evening tutoring, writing help and conversation twice each week in the dormitory classroom. While any student at WESLI can take advantage of this free English practice, it’s most convenient for those who live in the dormitory.

Extra orientation to Madison is another benefit for students who live in the WESLI Dormitory Learning Community. Ryan accompanies students on local buses to show them how to get to large grocery and department stores, and by bus or on foot to libraries close to WESLI, and other places of interest.

Ryan is passionate about helping students take many opportunities to study English while at WESLI.

“Learning English doesn’t stop in the classroom,” he said. “The dormitory is an extension of WESLI’s goal to foster interactive English learning in a safe community environment.”

To that end, Ryan uses language as a criterion for assigning roommates, trying to separate students with the same native language so they must communicate in English.

Ryan also advises students to make the most of their English studies in their relationships with other students and teachers by attending WESLI social events and activities and working with others on group projects.

A significant benefit of the Dormitory Learning Community is that each suite has a Smart TV, which allows students to access class information, listen to assigned TED Talks or other lectures, and collaborate on class projects, all from the comfort of their dormitory rooms.

Ryan enjoys being part of the WESLI Dormitory Learning Community, and our students appreciate his presence in the dormitory, as well. “A few days ago,” Ryan said, “one of my students saw me in the dormitory and said, ‘Teacher, you’re one of us!’”

Posted in WESLI News

ALS 500 & 600 ELL #6 (Spring 1)

Welcome to ALS 500 & 600! You are in the right place if you are looking for your extensive listening opportunities. If you are not an ALS 500 or 600 student that’s ok – you can still attend these events if you would like. If you are an ALS 500 or 600 student, you need to attend one of the events from the list below. After you attend one of these events, record a brief summary and reaction – you can ask your teacher if you have any questions about this.

Energetic About the Environment?

Careers in Clean Energy

Energy touches all aspects of our lives, and transitioning to more sustainable methods of generating and consuming energy will be one of the major challenges of our generation. For this transition to take place, we will need talented young leaders from all backgrounds to work together for a better future. This workshop will highlight emerging career opportunities in the clean energy economy for a wide range of disciplines across campus.

Date: Wednesday, February 17, 3-4 p.m.

Location: 6 Ingraham Hall

Creating an Individual Development Plan

An individual development plan (IDP) encourages you to think about what you need to do next -and over the next year few years- to achieve your goals. We will discuss how to define achievable goals, identify resources, and develop strategies for implementing and sustaining your plans. Participants will begin creating a personalized plan, taking into account career interests and addressing the development of knowledge and skills for professional growth.

Date: Wednesday, February 17, 4:30 – 6

Location:159 Wisconsin Idea Room, Education Building

Third Thursday Global Health Seminar

Dying with Dignity in Rwanda

James Cleary, director of the UW Carbone Cancer Center’s Pain and Policy Studies Group, discusses his Global Health Institute Seed Grant work to expand access to opioid medicine for pain in Rwanda. Cleary is internationally know for his work to increase access to medical opioids.

Date: Thursday, February 18, 4:30-5:30

Location: 1309 Health Sciences Learning Center

Black and Noble: Black Figures in Islamic History

Black History Month 2016

Hanif J. Williams, will contextualize the lives and struggles in modern social justice movements on 2 prominent Black Muslims, Bilal (RA) and Malcolm X. With the largest Muslim community in America being the African American Muslim community, it is important to educate on these intersecting identities in the larger context of Islamic History. Hosted by the Muslim Student Association. Contact for location.

Date: Thursday, February 18, 5 p.m.

Location: contact for location.

Black History Month 2016: Blackness & Intersectionality

Keynote lecture by Rahiel Tesfamariam

Civilians are mobilizing worldwide to protest injustices of all kinds and Black millennials are at the forefront of this movement using 21st century resistance strategies. This has led to a shift in visibility & power from the Black Church, the old guard of the Civil Rights Movement. But if this is to be an intergenerational struggle for liberation, then both have a critical role to play in the New Civil Rights Movement. Tesfamariam explores the intersections of these roles is in this keynote.

Date: Thursday, February 18, 7 p.m.

Location: Symphony Room, Gordon Dining and Event Center

Afternoon Conversation Series

Baby Jail: How the US Government Pays a Private Corporation to Imprison Refugee Moms and Children

This Friday’s topic is ‘Baby Jail: How the US Government Pays a Private Corporation to Imprison Refugee Moms and Children’ led by Professor Lydia Zepeda. Lydia Zepeda is a Professor in the Department of Consumer Science. Her research on food production, consumption, and access is motivated by her family history: a great grandfather who lost his life trying to bring farm machinery to Mexico, a grandfather who lost his land and home in Mexico, an infant uncle who died of hunger in the US, many relatives who were agricultural workers in the US, and many more with type II diabetes. "Over winter break, I spent a week in Dilley, Texas at the South Texas Family Detention Center (STFDC) as a volunteer Spanish translator for the CARA Pro Bono Project helping asylum seekers. The STFDC is a for-profit prison run by the Corrections Corporation of America and contracted by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to imprison women and children seeking asylum. CARA is a non-profit working to free these families.

Date: Friday, February 19, 2:30-4

Location: Prairie Fire Coffeehouse, Union South

The Snow Moon

Arboretum Night Walk

Though the great horned owls are quiet on their nests in February, barred owls may be calling. If the owls are silent, we can stargaze and listen for other creatures active on a winter night.

Date: Saturday, February 20, 6:30 – 8

Location: Meet at Visitor Center, UW-Madison Arboretum

Travel Film Series

Highlands of Scotland with Tom Sterling

Castles, Loch Ness, bagpipers, Iron Age Brochs, Edinburgh, Inverness, a sheep dog contest, and wildlife seldom seen by the casual tourist… watch all of these and more when award-winning travel adventure filmmaker Tom Sterling takes you on a grand tour of the Scottish highlands. Geographically small but monumental in its sights, this film is a fresh look at an old and much revered land.

Date: Monday, February 22, 7:30 p.m.

Location: The Marquee Cinema, Union South


Posted in English Classes

ALS 500 & 600 ELL #5 (Spring 1)

Welcome to ALS 500 & 600! You are in the right place if you are looking for your extensive listening opportunities. If you are not an ALS 500 or 600 student that’s ok – you can still attend these events if you would like. If you are an ALS 500 or 600 student, you need to attend one of the events from the list below. After you attend one of these events, record a brief summary and reaction – you can ask your teacher if you have any questions about this.

QBio Lecture Series-Lee Lynd

Bioenergy in response to the great challenges of our times

Professor Lee Lynd – Engineering Department, Dartmouth College All QBio sponsored talks take place on Wednesdays at 2:00 p.m. in the 3rd floor Orchard View room of the Discovery Building. Talks are open to the public. Access to the room is via the elevator behind Aldo’s Cafe in the Northeast corner of the building.

Date: Wednesday, February 10, 2016, 2 p.m.

Location: 3rd Floor Orchard View Room , Discovery Building

Improv to Improve Teaching and Communication

Participants will build confidence, teamwork, leadership, listening and decision-making skills through the storytelling and character-development techniques of theatrical improvisation. Participants will be able to better think on their feet, manage a constructivist classroom, and communicate their work more effectively to both technical and non-technical audiences. This session will be hands-on, active, and most importantly, insanely fun. Register here

Date:Wednesday, February 10, 2016, 4:30

Location: Union South

“The Sonic Color-Line: Race and the Cultural Politics of Listening”

Lecture by Jennifer Stoever, Associate Professor of English, SUNY Binghamton

In this talk, which draws on her forthcoming book (NYU Press, 2016), Jennifer Stoever amplifies an ongoing historical conversation between black writers and musical performers about listening’s role in black self-hood, agency, citizenship, and racial discrimination.

Date: Thursday, February 11, 2016, 4 p.m.

Location: L140 Conrad A. Elvehjem Building

Afternoon Conversation Series

The European Union in Economic, Political, and Social Crisis

This Friday’s topic is "The European Union in Economic, Political, and Social Crisis" led by Associate Professor Nils Ringe. The discussion will center on state of the European Union in the face of crisis. It will review current events and discuss possible implications of major developments in the economic, social, political, and security realms, with a particular focus on the Euro crisis, challenges associated with the inflow of refugees and migrants, recent election results in EU member states, and the November 2015 Paris terrorist attacks. To learn more about Associate Professor Nils Ringe, visit Need something to do to unwind after a busy week? Join us every Friday for a free pastry and a choice of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate at Afternoon Conversation Series (ACS)! We will be discussing current issues. ACS is held at the Prairie Fire Coffeehouse in Union South from 2:30-4pm every Friday.ACS is a facilitated weekly experience where you can engage in friendly conversations over different interactive themes presented each week.Come and join us for a relaxing Friday afternoon and make new friends. Refreshments are served on a first-come, first-served basis each week—come early to ensure your treat!

Date: Friday, February 12, 2016, 2:30

Location: Prairie Fire Coffeehouse, Union South

Life in Winter

Arboretum Walk

We will look for clues about how animals survive Wisconsin winters.

Date: Sunday, February 14, 2016, 1-2:30

Location: Meet at Visitor Center, UW-Madison Arboretum

Iain McCalman: Back to the Future: Teddy Roosevelt’s Anthropocene Safari

Humanities Without Boundaries

In this talk, McCalman will argue that Roosevelt’s famous African safari proved in fact to be a harbinger and agent of exactly the transformative social and environmental forces that he both regretted and extolled. Despite his lifelong disgust at ‘game butchers’ and ‘trophy hunters’, his own safari behavior savored uncomfortably of both.

Date: Monday, February 15, 2016, 7:30

Location: L160 Conrad A. Elvehjem Building

Learn the top tools for protecting your photos

Your photos are invaluable. Whether they’re from an exotic vacation or day-to-day life, they capture irreplaceable, one-of-a-kind moments. Learn about the top tools for organizing and protecting your photos! Expert Bret Vlach will be discussing the leading tools from Apple and others, including: – Apple iCloud Photo Library – Apple Time Machine – Storage tools such as Box, Google Drive, and more Bring a friend or anyone you know who can benefit from this workshop!

Date: Tuesday, February 16, 2016, 3 – 4 p.m.

Location: DoIT Tech Store, Computer Sciences and Statistics

Atheists, Humanist and Agnostics vs. Badger Catholic

Posted in English Classes