Student Life

A lot of your English learning will happen in the classroom, but there are many ways to practice outside class too—and the more you participate, the more your English will improve.

We also understand that you’re also in a new place, and may be living abroad for the first time. We’re here to help you make friends and build a community—the more comfortable you feel, the more you will learn.

ALP students in New York City

ALP Activities

The ALP offers an activities program for our intensive students. You get to meet students from different classes, have fun, practice English and explore New York City. Sample activities include:

  • New York Water Taxi
  • Yankees baseball
  • Volunteering at a home for the elderly
  • Empire State Building
  • Bowling
  • Rock climbing
  • Coney Island
  • Ice skating

ALP Workshops

We hold workshops during each session to help students while they are here:

  • Surviving in New York
  • The US healthcare system
  • Writing a statement of purpose for university applications
  • Preparing for university in the U.S.

Columbia University Events

Every day at Columbia there are events, lectures and activities, including the World Leaders Forum. The Columbia University Events Calendar shows you what’s going on every day, and you will also receive emails about special events.

Columbia University Clubs

There are over 100 student clubs and 40 sports clubs on campus where you can meet students who share your interest in sports, music, politics, games, volunteering etc. For a list of clubs visit the Columbia University Student Organizations page.

Columbia Sports

ALP students can watch all Columbia sports events, including soccer, American football, and basketball, for free.

Language Exchange Program

The Language Exchange Program (LEP) is for students who want to practice a foreign language with other students at Columbia University. Two students learning each other’s languages (one of them always being an ALP student learning English) are matched together. They then meet to practice. For example, an ALP student whose first language is Spanish is matched with an English speaker who is learning Spanish.

To apply for a language partner, complete the online application form. Columbia students requesting any language are encouraged to apply. However, because of the ALP student population, the most common pairings are with Arabic, Chinese, Japanese and Korean speakers - but we can often match other languages too.

Once you have submitted your application, you will be contacted when a partner is found. Note: some applicants of less common languages may need to be placed on a waitlist if a partner in that language cannot immediately be found. Some ALP applicants with the same first language may also need to be placed on a waitlist when supply is greater than demand. Students will be matched on a first come, first served basis.

Note: This program is offered in fall and spring semesters only.

Exploring New York

New York City is home to some of the world’s best theater, art, dance, music, sports and architecture.

ALP students in Times Square

You can see a Broadway show or the Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center; attend a Knicks basketball game or a concert at Madison Square Garden; see a New York Yankees baseball game at Yankee Stadium; walk through Central Park; and explore Manhattan’s many neighborhoods.

ALP students can visit many New York City museums for free with their ID and see first-run movies at a discounted price.