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Grand Rapids, MI

1150 Au Sable Hall; 1 Campus Drive
Allendale, MI 49401-9403
Tel.: (616) 331-9222
ELS Center Hours: 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM (closed on weekends and holidays)
On the campus of: Grand Valley State University
For more information on this institution's programs click here


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ELS/Grand Rapids is on the Allendale campus of Grand Valley State University (GVSU). The Center is on the first floor of Au Sable Hall, an academic building located in the middle of GVSU’s main campus. ELS students are only a short walk away from eateries, the fabulous GVSU library, student services, and the bus line. Nearby Grand Rapids is the second largest city in the state, Allendale, which is located within 20 minutes of the beautiful beaches of Lake Michigan and just two hours from Chicago. The Grand Rapids area is safe and welcoming and offers many cultural, entertainment and sports venues.

  • On Campus Facility Use
  • Lake Michigan beaches and the Van Andel Museum Center
  • Weekend trips possible to beaches, Detroit or Chicago, Niagara Falls

Distance to Key Locations from ELS Center

Location Minutes Transportation Method
Airport 40
Bank 5
Downtown Area 25
Post Office 25
Restaurant(s) 3
Shopping Mall/Outlet 40
Supermarket 5
Public Transportation 5-10








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

On-campus housing at GVSU Student Residence Student Dorm Room Student Residence Kitchen On-campus dormitory in Winter Hall Student Residence Fitness Room Student Residence Lounge

Winter Hall(Student Residence (On Campus))

Students can take a free bus to the ELS Center.
Single option: Private bedroom in a shared suite-style unit in urban student residence. Shared suite-style bathrooms and kitchen.
Single deluxe option: Private studio-style room complete with private kitchen and bathroom. Nothing shared.
Both options include full size refrigerator, stove, microwaves may be available, dining table and chairs. Big screen TV, gym located in building. Linens are also included and can be changed weekly. Students clean their own rooms during stay.

Price per Session $620 - 980
Occupancy Single Deluxe, Single Deluxe, Single
Minimum Age 18
Airport Pickup $110
Meals / week or Meal Credit
No meals included.

Homestays in the area(Homestay)

Host family students are responsible for their personal transportation. Most students use the bus to get to campus.

Price per Session $800
Occupancy Single, Single
Minimum Age 16
Airport Pickup $110
Meals / week or Meal Credit
16 meals per week

Welcome! Morning sun over the Pew Library Lake Ontario Hall, home of GVSU's Padnos Intl Center Snow blankets Kirkhof Center Taking in some sunshine The new courtyard outside ELS Great place to relax Inside the new addition to Au Sable Hall. Seidman Center for business The wonderful new Library GVSU in autumn Au Sable Hall, home of ELS Grand Rapids Grand Valley State University Pew Campus in Spring City of Grand Rapids Downtown Grand Rapids Downtown Grand Rapids
  • Baseball field
  • Computer center
  • Gymnasium
  • Soccer field
  • Swimming pool (indoor)
  • Tennis court(s)
  • Health center
  • Basketball court(s)
  • Library
  • Racquetball/squash Courts
  • Fitness Center
  • Center is handicapped accessible
  • Classrooms NOT 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

Nicholas Ghiglia

Nicholas Ghiglia

Center Director

Welcome to ELS Grand Rapids, in the heart of Western Michigan. A quiet, safe place to live and study, students of ELS Grand Rapids are supported by instructors that have lived abroad and faced many of the same cultural and linguistic challenges. Having taught ESOL for many years in Japan and Vietnam, Nicholas has a Master of Education degree and speaks fluent Japanese. Nicholas has moved to ELS Grand Rapids from ELS Santa Cruz, California. He is married, with two children.

Amber Young

Amber Young

Academic Director

Amber Young joined the ELS Grand Rapids instructional staff in 2006 and after teaching for a year, stepped into the position of Academic Director. Prior to working with ELS she earned her Master's Degree in TESOL and spent five years teaching English to graduate students in China.

Caleb Griffis

Caleb Griffis

International Student Advisor

Caleb became the International Student Advisor in December of 2012. He enjoys building friendships with students from different locations and cultures. Before coming to ELS he taught English in Nanchang, China for 6 years. In his free time he enjoys playing basketball, videography, being outdoors, and traveling.

Barb Ellis

Barb Ellis


After working as the accountant for her husband's business for 18 years and as an administrative assistant at GVSU, Barb has been the registrar at ELS Grand Rapids for over 5 years now. As the registrar, Barb assists students with many of their needs, and enjoys working with people from around the world. She is married with 5 children.

Ashlie Genrich

Ashlie Genrich

IELTS Administrator

Ashlie is well-traveled: She lived in California, Washington D.C. and Indiana by the time she was five. When she was eight and ten years old, Ashlie lived with her grandparents in Hokkaido, Japan where they ran an international school. But, she has spent the majority of her life in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Ashlie graduated from GVSU with a Bachelor’s degree in secondary education. Currently, she is getting a Masters in TESOL from Cornerstone University. Ashlie has two little dogs, Lara and Dipper. “I love to travel and have been all over the
world but there are still so many places that I want to see! “

Daniel Bowman

Daniel Bowman


Daniel has been teaching with ELS since 2008. Prior to teaching at ELS, he earned his Bachelor's and Master's degrees at Cornerstone University, while working as a Teaching Assistant. In 2005, he married his wife Amanda -- they have two children.

Tami Hankiewicz

Tami Hankiewicz


Tami has been with ELS since 2007. She is an energetic and outgoing person who loves to teach and learn about different cultures. Tami earned her Master's degree from Grand Valley State University in TESOL. She is married with two children and two dogs. She enjoys gardening and entertaining friends. She also likes to camp and spend time outside.

Erica Spohr

Erica Spohr


Erica loves interacting with people from different languages and cultures. She has been teaching ESL for 10 years and has met students from 52 countries! Erica has a Bachelor's degree in Linguistics from the University of Michigan & has has almost completed an MA in TESOL. Before joining ELS in December 2009, she taught at Northern Michigan University and worked in the Refugee Services program a Lutheran Social Services of Michigan.

Kyle Hess

Kyle Hess


Kyle Hess graduated from Cedarville University in 2010 with a degree in International Studies and TESOL. Some of his hobbies include soccer, piano, and reading. He has had the privilege of spending time in several countries, including Japan, Rwanda, Uganda, and Peru. After graduating from college, he moved to Michigan to work with ELS and marry his beautiful wife Georgiann.

Dean Dykstra

Dean Dykstra


Dean Dykstra earned his Masters of Education from Grand Valley State University in 2004. He has worked with students in many different subject areas including math, reading, writing and test preparation. In 1999 he married his lovely wife Dinorah, who is from Honduras, and they have three sons. Dean enjoys playing soccer, reading, cooking with his wife, and learning new things.

Jong In (Jaden)

July 9, 2014


I got a lot of support from having a GVSU student as a Conversation Partner. I am excited to be on campus with GVSU students because we can contact with GVSU students so easily. When I talk to GVSU students they have been so kind and some are very interested in Korean culture. I have attended the Korean Culture Club and the atmosphere there was a lot of fun.

-Jong In (Jaden) ,South Korea


July 9, 2014


I came to ELS because GVSU is a university which interested me due to its diversities and its high implication with international student. The education provided there is highly appropriate to myself. I intend to pursue an Accounting major, thus GVSU could give me experience and formation in that domain, I really intend to be a part integrated to GVSU community. Also with ELS I think everything is facilitated because students from ELS have some advantages.

-Laurianne,Cote D Ivoire


July 9, 2014


I contacted Kettering University asking for an admission from English Language institute and they recommended me to contact ELS Grand Rapids. I searched by Internet about ELS GR and many students like it except the weather in winter. When I came here, people are friendly and helpful and the weather is getting warmer.

-Sami,Saudi Arabia


June 4, 2014


As an international student, I'd dreamed about studying in the United States. I was hesitating about what school I should choose for improving English. Everyone recommended the ELS center because it will prepare any student to join the universities in U.S. Before I had a chance to study at ELS, I couldn't speak English at all. Thus, I had the privilege and opportunity to study in the ELS Language Center in Grand Rapids. Since I joined this institution, I learned the most popular language that 55% of the world speaks in just one year. Now, I know how to speak, read, write, and listen to English fluently, and all the credit goes to ELS.

-Abdulrahman ,Saudi Arabia

Ana & Juan

March 7, 2014

Part 1: Part 2:


June 25, 2013


I have been studying English at ELS for 3 months, and I really like this peaceful life. People here, including ELS staffs and students, are friendly, thoughtful and kind, so I'm sure that studying here is a pretty good way to improve English with fun. Teachers always encourage us to learn English through various interesting activities during classes, so students are eager to learn English. Not only do we learn English from them, but we also learn what we need to know in order to live in America. Also, we have fun activities after class, such as going to beaches, enjoying festivals and watching baseball game, and these activities are good opportunities to make friends and enjoy this city. I hope you can study here and enjoy Michigan.
~ Sakino



June 25, 2013


One of the most important and interesting years that I spent in my life time was studying at ELS. There are many factors which made my experience at ELS such a great one. For example, meeting with other international students provides a lot of fun when we compare one culture with others. Moreover, ELS activities are my favorite because of the activities that are chosen and the awesome group of friends. Another factor that helped was living in a Home Stay so it was easy to practice English. Also living in an environment like Grand Rapids which has a good location between big modern urban cities like Chicago and Detroit, and open land with nice looking on many lakes is refreshing. One of the valuable things that improved my English is the way of teaching and on the teachers’ knowledge. To conclude, studying English is neither hard nor easy. It depends on the effort that you put into it.
Anas Almassrahy

-Anas,Saudi Arabia

Students Speak: Reco from ELS/Grand Rapids

June 3, 2013

Students Speak: Deborah from ELS/Grand Rapids

June 3, 2013

ELS Students Speak - About Never Being Bored

February 1, 2012

ELS Students Speak - About Enjoying Winter Weather

February 1, 2012

ELS Students Speak - About Connecting with Counselors

February 1, 2012

ELS Students Speak - About Friendly, Small-Town Living

August 31, 2011

ELS Students Speak - About First Trip Abroad

August 31, 2011

Neighbors International Dinner

October 14, 2014

One of our local partners hosted an international dinner with students from 7 Grand Rapids colleges and universities. Students were able to win many prizes! The venue is beautiful and we had a catered dinner. The best part about this event is that our students are matched up with local families who host our students throughout the year.

Pentwater, Michigan

September 23, 2014

ELS Grand Rapids went to Pentwater, Michigan to enjoy the natural beauty of Lake Michigan. Students were able to enjoy time with the people from Pentwater by playing soccer against the high school, fishing on the lake, sharing meals with Pentwater locals, and enjoying the sand dunes. This was the most culturally interactive activity we have had and the students loved it!

Late Night Roller Skating

July 21, 2014

Since some of our students cannot eat until late at night we decided to have a late night event at the roller skating rink. It was a lot of fun to move to the sound of music. Many students had never been roller skating before so it was a bit of an adventure!

Canoe Trip

July 10, 2014

Flooding didn't stop us from enjoying a great time canoeing down the Rogue River. Everyone enjoyed the trip even though a few students ended up in the water. We saw lots of nature including huge birds flying overhead and turtles sunning on the logs.

ELS Olympics

June 23, 2014

Our students headed to the outdoors to celebrate the arrival of some warm weather. With a BBQ, backyard games, and soccer what could be better?


June 19, 2014

Every 4 weeks our students gather to celebrate the accomplishment of many students that are able to pass their level. This time we had many students graduate from level 112 and move onto college!!! It is so exciting to see them succeed but hard to let them go.

Michigan's Adventure

June 9, 2014

The best roller coasters in Michigan are at Michigan's Adventure in Muskegon Michigan. ELS Grand Rapids went to enjoy the fun in the sun!

Grand Rapids Griffins Ice Hockey

June 9, 2014

We went to an important playoff game for the Grand Rapids Griffins hockey team. They were amazing and won by 1 goal! The game was close the entire time!

Perfect Attendance Lunch!

May 9, 2014

We hosted a free lunch for those students that were never late and didn't miss a class all session long!

Frederik Meijer Gardens

May 7, 2014

We visited the well-known Meijer Gardens Butterfly Exhibit. Every year FMG brings in caterpillars from all over the world and contains them in a huge green house where visitors can roam and take pictures of the butterflies' natural beauty.

Laughter Yoga

May 5, 2014

One class invited a "Laughter Yoga" specialist to show us the importance and benefits of laughing.


ELS at Grand Valley State University

ELS at Grand Valley State University

Provides a brief description of ELS, our Programs and the Grand Rapids ELS Language Center. The flyer also offers some specific attributes of the university, its programs and other helpful information.

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GVSU Campus Map -- Allendale

GVSU Campus Map -- Allendale

The main campus of Grand Valley State University is in the town of Allendale, 20 minutes away from both downtown Grand Rapids and the beautiful beaches of Lake Michigan.

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GVSU Campus Map -- Grand Rapids

GVSU Campus Map -- Grand Rapids

Winter Hall, the dormitory where ELS Language Centers/Grand Rapids students live, is located on Grand Valley State University's downtown campus . Most of the university's graduate programs are here as well.

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GVSU profile

GVSU profile

Detailed description of Grand Valley State University.

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Session 11 Activity Calendar

Session 11 Activity Calendar

Every session we get out and do some things together. This is the calendar that shows what is available to do and things that we are doing together this session. This session we are celebrating the Halloween season!

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