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.
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
- Rock climbing
- Coney Island
- Ice skating
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.
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.
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.
I fully understand that other international students love to hang out with the people who have the same nationality because they feel more comfortable with their mother tongue. That is what I did when I went to New Zealand. By the time I realized it, I lost a lot of great opportunities to understand Kiwi culture. Therefore, after I came to America, I asked friends from different countries to hang out together. We have definitely had disagreements because we have different cultures and values, but that’s what has really enhanced our friendship and made us understand each other better. I’ve started to understand that there is no gap between any nationality. We can learn values and knowledge from other people!"Ziyuan (Harry) Huang - China
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.
ALP students can watch all Columbia sports events, including soccer, American football, and basketball, for free.
Connect with Us
Learn more about the American Language Program at Columbia University or contact the program advisor.Request more information
Apply to the American Language Program
Learn more about the application process, deadlines, and requirements.Learn more