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DeKalb, IL

385 Wirtz Drive
DeKalb, IL 60115
Tel.: 815-753-4600
On the campus of: Northern Illinois University
For more information on this institution's programs click here


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ELS/DeKalb is located in a small and friendly university community. Our Center is on the main campus of Northern Illinois University, with its 300 hectares of trees and grassy areas. An affordable cost of living and many outdoor activities make this the perfect location for students with families. Northern Illinois University offers 63 undergraduate majors, 79 graduate programs and 11 Ph.D. programs.

DeKalb Fast Facts

DeKalb Fast Facts

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Distance to Key Locations from ELS Center

Location Minutes Transportation Method
Airport 60
Bank 5
Downtown Area 10
Post Office 10
Restaurant(s) 10
Shopping Mall/Outlet 15
Supermarket 10
Bus Stop/Subway 2








110V 60KHz.
Electric Plug Details



Programs available at this location

2014 Cost Per Session
$1790 USD

2014 Cost Per Session
$1410 USD

American Explorer Program

Enjoy the Adventure

2014 Cost Per Session
$1350 USD

University Plaza, 2 towers connected by common area University Plaza Room University Plaza Room University Plaza Cafe 900 Lounge University Plaza Map to ELS Language Center University Plaza Bathroom--shared with 1 suite-mate University Plaza Indoor Swimming Pool University Plaza Fitness Center University Plaza Recreation area, pool table, ping pong University Plaza Laundry Room University Plaza Suite Bedrooms Elisabeth (ISA) setting up your room in Douglas Hall. Douglas Double Beds Douglas Double Bunk Beds Douglas Double Bunk Beds Douglas Hall International House Lounge Douglas Lobby Douglas Lobby


Host family students are responsible for their personal transportation.

Price per Session $925
Occupancy Single
Minimum Age 14
Airport Pickup $180 - 210
Meals / week or Meal Credit
14 per week (daily continental breakfast & dinner)

Stevenson Towers(Student Residence (On Campus))

In the International House, students, international scholars and artists interact in a convivial atmosphere to share ideas about living on an increasingly vital world stage. Here you will meet students from over 32 countries speaking more than 15 different languages. Special activities include dinners from varying cultures; opportunities for foreign language students to focus on language skills in French, German, Russian, Spanish, and Japanese; and discussions and activities related to political science and public service. Douglas Hall is located on the West Campus near the Student Recreation Center. It is also very close to Huskie Stadium as well as some of NIU's other athletic fields. The residential floors are located in four five-story wings. Most rooms are double occupancy, with twin bunk beds. Douglas also features the popular dining facility, the Dog Pound Deli. Rooms include a bed, closet, desk, chair, microwave, mini-refrigerator, telephone and internet access. Self-service laundry machines are available for a small fee. Students living in the International House are involved with the Foreign Language Residence Program, domestic students who want to live with international students, have studied abroad, are interested in international issues or international students who have an interest in global issues.

Price per Session $1250
Occupancy Double, Double
Minimum Age 17
Airport Pickup $180 - 210
Meals / week or Meal Credit
$50 declining balance meal card which can be used at various dining sites on-campus and also off-campus restaurants

University Plaza(Student Residence (Off Campus))

All ELS rooms at University Plaza are suites, with 2 private bedrooms and a shared bathroom.
University Plaza is located just 0.9 kilometers from the ELS DeKalb Center, only a 10 minute walk.
Each suite will consist of a private bedroom for each occupant with a shared bathroom and clothes closet area. Each bedroom will be furnished with a bed, mattress, dresser, desk, and chair. Linens will be provided along with bath towels. Basic housekeeping is also included on a bi-weekly basis at which time linens and towels will be replaced. Each room will also have a microwave-refrigerator combo unit. These rooms are air conditioned for summer. The facility has wireless internet access throughout.
Residents also enjoy access to the 24-hour fitness facility, indoor swimming pool, sauna, game room with pool table and ping pong table, student lounge, weight room, laundry facilities, computer lab with printing available 24/7 and onsite parking.
Students may participate in any of the many activities which are sponsored by University Plaza. ELS students also have access to the Northern Illinois University Recreation Center, Huskie Bus, campus library, and campus computer labs.
The NIU Huskie Bus (free for students) does stop at University Plaza for students who would like to travel to downtown DeKalb (2.89 km) or to other local shopping.
Security: Security guard at door from 5pm until 8am and resident assistant is available on site 24/7, camera security throughout facility, only residents with swipe cards can access elevators
Vaccinations: Students must follow the policy of Northern Illinois University. Download the vaccinations form in the Health/Immunizations menu of the Downloads section

Price per Session $500
Occupancy Single, Single - Single room types in double occupancy suites.
Minimum Age 17
Airport Pickup $180 - 210
Meals / week or Meal Credit
Meals are not included. A meal card can be purchased for $192 for 32 meals. Within walking distance to several restaurants. Mini microwave/refrigerator combo in each room.

NIU Campus NIU Lagoon NIU Wirtz Hall -- ELS Classrooms NIU Campus in Fall International Programs at NIU NIU College of Business; Barsema Hall NIU Homecoming 2011 NIU Library NIU Huskie Football Stadium Downtown DeKalb Historic Ellwood House The House Cafe in Downtown DeKalb KiteFest--the Annual Festival Right at NIU GO NIU! The Pumpkin Festival Parade
  • Baseball field
  • Computer center
  • Gymnasium
  • Soccer field
  • Swimming pool (indoor)
  • Tennis court(s)
  • Basketball court(s)
  • Library
  • Racquetball/squash Courts
  • Fitness Center
  • Center is handicapped accessible
  • Classrooms are handicapped accessible
  • Cafeteria

What is Conditional Admission?

Institutions in the ELS University Conditional Admission Network offer conditional admission to students who are academically admissible based on the student’s academic record and other university and/or departmental and program requirements, but who have not yet demonstrated English proficiency. Your admission is “conditional” based upon satisfying English proficiency through completion of a specified level of the ELS English for Academic Purposes program and any other specific requirements prior to full admission. Once these requirements are fulfilled, you are able to fully matriculate. These requirements will be outlined on your Conditional Letter of Admission, and your selected ELS center will assist you in completing all of the necessary requirements for matriculation.

Additional matriculation requirements may include other required scores, for example, GMAT® or GRE® for graduate programs.

Our ELS University Partners will offer a Conditional Letter of Admission (CLA) detailing the additional requirements needed for matriculation. You and your family can be assured that you have a university placement and ELS registration prior to departing for the USA.

What is the Conditional Admission Process?

  1. Find a university via our University Finder
  2. Apply for university admission and enroll for English studies at ELS Language Centers with help from a local ELS authorized Counseling Agent.
  3. If you are an acceptable candidate for university admission, you receive a letter of "Conditional university admission subject to English proficiency and submission of any other required documentation for matriculation."
  4. Study at any of the 60 ELS Centers in the USA to fulfill the university entrance requirement for English proficiency.
  5. Begin your university program!

Meet the Staff

Wendi Raulie

Wendi Raulie

Center Director

Wendi is the Center Director for the DeKalb center. She is originally from Missouri but has also lived in several other Midwest states. Wendi received her Bachelor of Science and Masters of Science majoring in College Student Personnel Administration from the University of Central Missouri. As a non-traditional college student Wendi has a strong belief in higher education. Wendi worked with the Intensive English Program and Short Term International Programs at University of Central Missouri while obtaining her masters. Wendi began working with ELS Language Centers in August 2010 as Registrar when the DeKalb center first opened. Wendi is married and lives in the DeKalb area with her family.

Dieter Zeschke

Dieter Zeschke

Academic Director

Dieter is the Academic Director for the DeKalb center. Dieter grew up near DeKalb but has lived all over the United States. After completing his Bachelor’s degree in English in 2000, he spent two years teaching English to children and adults in South Korea. When he returned home from Korea, he completed a Master’s degree in English at NIU and spent seven years working with NIU’s international students and visiting scholars. He began working as an instructor at ELS DeKalb when it first opened in September 2010 and became the Academic Director in April 2011. He enjoys challenging students to achieve their full potential.

Elisabeth Wright

Elisabeth Wright

International Student Advisor

I am the International Student Advisor at the ELS Language Center in DeKalb, IL. I am from the DeKalb area, but have traveled around the world experiencing and exploring different cultures. I am a recent graduate of Northern Illinois University with a Bachelor’s degree in Cultural and Linguistic Anthropology and a concentration in Southeast Asian Studies. While at NIU, I took advanced languages courses in Thai and spent a summer abroad in Thailand researching ethnic minorities and anthropological politics. My job is to help the students acclimate to their new environment—helping them with their every day needs, planning fun and educational activities, and providing college counseling. I thoroughly enjoy working with International students in every way I can and I hope to help them succeed in their future endeavors, wherever they may take them!

Brendan T Rosenberg

Brendan T Rosenberg


I began with ELS DeKalb in March 2011. I have previously held a management position with Borders Books and Music Stores and have worked for Barnes & Noble College Division. I grew up in DeKalb and attended Northern Illinois University majoring in Political Science. I have been married for 6 years. I enjoy sports, being with my family and reading books pertaining to history and politics. I am a dual citizen of the United States and Ireland. I hope to travel back to Ireland soon. I enjoy working with the students and learning about the different cultures. As someone who has spent the majority of my life in DeKalb, I truly believe this is an ideal environment with a very knowledgeable staff and dedicated teachers for international students to learn a new language and a new culture.


June 12, 2013


I have been in ELS nine months. I started from level 103, and now I am 112 student. I like ELS DeKalb for many reasons such as the teachers and the lovely students. I will go to study Nursing at NIU next August. I like DeKalb because everything is near to you, and NIU provides a free bus around the campus.

-Abdulaziz,Saudi Arabia


June 12, 2013


I think the ELS is a good place because my English listening skill is good little by little. I stay in DeKalb after I finish. There are not many Japanese people, so I don't speak Japanese which is nice when studying English.



June 12, 2013


Having studied at ELS Dekalb let me have a confidence that I can communicate and work with people from around the world. It definitely broadened my sight over my home country, and now I'm planning to work abroad after the graduation.

-Jim,South Korea


August 6, 2012


I have more opportunities to communicate with people in English. Native teachers help improve my listening and speaking. I hope to learn more oral English from them. Anyways, I like life here.



August 6, 2012


This is the first time I could learn English in United States. Not only can I study in USA, but I also study in the campus of NIU, so I'm like a university student in USA. Classes of ELS are fruitful for me to learn English and campus facilities of NIU are also excellent for me. I can concentrate of studying English from 8 am - 3 pm from Monday to Friday, and I can studying in library or exercise in fitness gym after the classes. ELS DeKalb is so good for me. Although, I can stay in DeKalb only four weeks, I would like to make efforts to maximize "profits" of my staying in DeKalb.



August 6, 2012


If anybody wants to learn English, don't think!! Just come to ELS center in DeKalb, IL. You will have so much and in here you will find good teachers and friendly students. Plus, you will learn English very easily!

-Abdulatief,Saudi Arabia


August 6, 2012


When I first came to ELS, I was a little bit scared and nervous, but after I started I took two weeks only to know everybody in the center. The people here are very friendly and polite and the teachers are so great they will help you with anything you need, even in your life outside the class. I'm really enjoying my time here at ELS and I recommend that if you want to learn English and make some friends just come to ELS!

-Abdulaziz,Saudi Arabia


August 6, 2012


I can't believe that I have been studying English for five months at ELS in DeKalb. At the first time, I was very nervous as well as I was not accustomed with everything. However, teachers and other students were friendly that's why I could get used to different environment compared to my country Korea. Actually, it was hard for me to say something in English, even though I had to say "good morning," it made me confused. Still, sometimes it's not easy to tell something in English, but it doesn't make me feel scared anymore.

-Sunhee,South Korea


August 6, 2012


It's a good experience to study the international language English between native speakers atmosphere. With professional teachers with high degrees in English language, you can learn English in short amount of time.

ELS/Dekalb is located in a college city and only 1 hour away driving to Chicago. You can learn speaking English by the trips and the entertainment that ELS make every session. Although, ELS directors helps you to attend university in US. By finish level 112, you could apply for approximately 400 universities in America without TOEFL test.

-Abdullah,Saudi Arabia

Shinae (Terra)

August 6, 2012


This is my first time to improve what I want to learn English in DeKalb center. I got a lot of interesting activities in here. Above all, this ELS in DeKalb has been offering the significant fundamental of knowledge to go to college in the USA. Well-organized class, interesting sub-class (after class), various kind of activity programs (Japanese Garden was awesome!!) once a session go to Chicago. Especially, people in village are very kind for international people and pleasant and comfortable environment grabbed my attention to focus on studying in DeKalb. I will never forget how much this language school has changed my life for my fantastic future.

-Shinae (Terra),South Korea


August 6, 2012


ELS gives the students the right environment to study and let the students practice on his speaking skills. The teachers here are friendly and nice. We have Miss Elisabeth she helps you on the university thing and makes amazing plans for every session. In ELS, if you finish 112 there is more than 600 universities that will accept you. ELS is one of the best places to learn English.

-Saad,Saudi Arabia


August 6, 2012


I came here one month ago and here's weather was great every day sunny and hot outside. The first class was reading and writing class and the teacher was very nice and kind. ELS class was really good and there are many good friends. Sometimes I go to Chicago with my friends and it's really exciting!

-Inkyound,South Korea

Elizabeth, Chile

February 23, 2012


The English is a language very important in the world, for this I decided to study it. I came to ELS unable to speak English but during my two months here, I learned thanks to my teachers, their patience, and their kind with me. I liked this experience, I knew people of different places with the same need. I will have this to remember forever.


Jim, South Korea

January 19, 2012


For those who are looking for a good place to learn and practice English, I strongly recommend that you come to ELS at Dekalb. You do not need to be afraid of speaking with native American. They really understand foreign students who learn English as their second language, and help students to get courage and confidence. This ELS center is located at Northern Illinois University, which means student can actually practice and apply what he/she learns into a real life.

-Jim,South Korea

Jihun, South Korea

January 19, 2012


Hi, my name is Jihun Kwak. Now, I have been here for seven months and I'm studying English in ELS Language Center located at NIU. I just want to tell you guys about my opinion. You might be simply think that it is just for language, however, if you think that you are totally wrong. You can learn not only English but also academic skills for University such as summary, paraphrasing, note-taking skills and how to write essay. If you have thought that you would study for master or doctoral degree, it is really good choice to study English through ELS program. Moreover, you can also experience real culture of the US and make many friends in the world. Don't hesitate. Choose ELS program! It will give you many opportunities!

-Jihun,South Korea

Duaa, Saudi Arabia

January 19, 2012


I have decided to come to ELS because I wanted to learn English easily. I have been here for eight months. My plan after I finish is to go to the University and study the bachelor degree here in USA. I made a lot of friends from China, Thailand, Brazil, Venezuela, and Saudi Arabia. My favorite part in ELS is the Friday party which is the last day of the session. I liked all my teachers and I love all of them. I enjoyed the most when we went to Chicago downtown because in that day was my 21st birthday and we enjoyed all together. I enjoyed the time here in ELS and I won't forget these amazing days all of my life.

-Duaa,Saudi Arabia

ELS DeKalb Student from Chile

November 23, 2010

Deyse, Brazil

November 22, 2010

Hi, I am Deyse, from Brazil. Now, I am studying in ELS Dekalb. I am really happy here. My teachers are very nice. I can say that this is a big experience in my life!

Abdulghani, Libya

November 22, 2010

I like ELS/DeKalb because they have good teachers and a lot of activities. The activities and the teachers help me to improve my language. I have been here for only 2 months, but I have learned a lot of new words. And I have learned more and more English and culture from the other international students. I can say that I have not thought about Libya, because ELS feels like my family. I think that's why ELS is different from other schools.

Abdulghani, Libya

Jun Sub, South Korea

November 22, 2010

My name is Jun Sub from South Korea. I have been at the DeKalb center about 2 months. It is a new center which was opened on September 13. There aren't many people now, so I can learn English more intensively. Because there aren't many people now, I can also get along with all other international students and can make a close relationship with them. This center is at NIU(Northern Illinois University), so I can use many facility such as health club, soccer field(indoor) and participate in outdoor activity like canoeing, climbing and camping. We can communicate with many American students in these places. I think the DeKalb center is a very good place to study English and learn American culture.

Jun Sub, South Korea

Alice, Gabon

November 22, 2010

Hi, my name is Alice. I'm from Gabon. I have been at ELS DeKalb at Northern Illinois University for a month. It is a great experience. First of all I was afraid to talk with other people, but by the time, I discovered them, they were very cheerful and kind to me. We did a lot of interesting activities like playing football, visiting the haunted house, discovering American culture etc. Also, teachers are very good and fascinating. To finish, the environment in NIU DeKalb is very beautiful with animals and trees etc. The students are open minded and able to help us if needed. I recommend to everyone to have the same great experience I have had in ELS DeKalb at Northern Illinois University.

- Alice, Gabon

Session 4 student activities

May 30, 2014

Baseball Game, Holiday Egg Coloring, and a great trip to Chicago

Session 3 student activities

April 10, 2014

Skiing, snowboarding, game night, and award ceremony

Visiting Chicago's Chinatown for Lunar New Year

February 3, 2014

ELS students travel to Chicago to visit Chinatown during the Lunar New Year celebration. There was great shopping, a lot of fun, and delicious food!


DeKalb Fast Facts

DeKalb Fast Facts

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ELS DeKalb

ELS DeKalb

A short powerpoint presentation about ELS Dekalb and NIU.

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ELS DeKalb session 3 activity calendar

ELS DeKalb session 3 activity calendar

Great activities for students in and around DeKalb!

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ELS DeKalb session 6 activity calendar

ELS DeKalb session 6 activity calendar

Great activities for students to enjoy in and around DeKalb!

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ELS DeKalb Student Activity Calendar 1a

ELS DeKalb Student Activity Calendar 1a

Great student activities and trips to enjoy during session 1

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ELS DeKalb Student Activity Calendar 2a

ELS DeKalb Student Activity Calendar 2a

Great activities and trips for students to enjoy

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