Back to ELS Locations Map


DeKalb, IL

385 Wirtz Drive
DeKalb, IL 60115
Tel.: 815-753-4600
ELS Center Hours: 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM (closed on weekends and holidays)
On the campus of: Northern Illinois University
For more information on this institution's programs click here


Filter by:

All Videos Photos Events

ELS/DeKalb lies 100 km west of Chicago on the main campus of Northern Illinois University, a world-class research and teaching institution in America's heartland, where high-tech facilities blend with beautiful natural scenery to create an ideal place for study. The city of DeKalb's low cost of living and small-town charm and safety make this location great for students with families. Students at Northern Illinois University can choose from 63 undergraduate majors, 79 graduate programs, and 11 Ph. D programs. A strong tradition of excellence in teaching at ELS DeKalb helps prepare students for success at university and beyond.

  • Full-service university with many high-ranking programs
  • Safe, clean, friendly college town
  • Large international student population
  • Over 100 countries represented at NIU
  • Easy weekend trips to Chicago
  • Award-winning ELS teachers
  • Experience traditional American university life
  • Join ELS on Social Media! #ELSCenters #ELSDeKalb

DeKalb Fast Facts

DeKalb Fast Facts

Download PDF

Distance to Key Locations from ELS Center

Location Minutes Transportation Method
Airport 75/75
Bank 15/8/10/5
Downtown Area 15/8/10/5
Post Office 20/12/15/10
Restaurants 15/8/10/5
Shopping Mall/Outlet 60/45
Sports Stadium 10/7/5
Supermarket 15/8/10/5
Pharmacy 15/8/10/5
Public Transportation 5/3








110V 60KHz.
Electric Plug Details



Programs available at this location

2017 Cost Per Session
$1840 USD
2017 Cost Per Session
$1410 USD
American Explorer Program

Enjoy the Adventure

2017 Cost Per Session
$1350 USD

Neptune West Hall dormitory - personal work space. Neptune West Hall dormitory. Neptune West Hall dormitory - spacious closet. Neptune West Hall dormitory - bunk beds and desk.


The people of the American Midwest are famous for their warmth, openness, and hospitality, and at the homes of the host families of ELS DeKalb students find out why. Many of our host families work at or have connections to Northern Illinois University and the international student community. DeKalb and close neighbor Sycamore offer many beautiful residential neighborhoods with well-maintained houses and well-groomed lawns. In the spring and summer, families enjoy cookouts, sports, and outdoor games. In the fall, it's fun to walk among the trees with their leaves changing color, and in the winter there are snowmen to build and snowball fights to win or lose and cozy hearths near which to warm up.

Price per Session $990
Occupancy Single
Minimum Age 14
Airport Pickup $180 - 200
Meals / week or Meal Credit
No meals included.

Neptune West Hall(Student Residence (On Campus))

ELS students staying in Neptune Hall enjoy the following amenities at no additional charge: \*Laundry facilities \*Student Art Gallery \*Music practice rooms \*Dance studio \*Art/drafting room \*Wi-Fi with high-speed internet access in every room \*24-hour computer lab \*Study rooms \*Community Safety Center \*Full service cafeteria \*After-hours snack bar

Price per Session $1150
Occupancy Double
Minimum Age 18
Airport Pickup $180 - 200
Meals / week or Meal Credit
No meals included. Students will have $50 added to their NIU student accounts (OneCard) each session.

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!
  • Baseball field
  • Computer lab
  • Gymnasium
  • Soccer field
  • Swimming pool (indoor)
  • Tennis court
  • Wi-Fi
  • Basketball court
  • Library
  • Racquetball/Squash court
  • 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

Dieter Zeschke

Dieter Zeschke

Center Director

I am the Center Director for the DeKalb center. I grew up near DeKalb but have lived all over the United States. After completing my Bachelor’s degree in English in 2000, I spent two years teaching English to children and adults in South Korea. When I returned home from Korea, I completed a Master’s degree in English at NIU and spent seven years working with NIU’s international students and visiting scholars. I began working as an instructor at ELS DeKalb when it first opened in September 2010 and was the Academic Director from April 2011 to July 2014. I enjoy challenging students to achieve their full potential.

Nicholas Holmberg

Nicholas Holmberg

Academic Director

I am originally from San Jose, CA. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Literature and Master’s degrees in both Literature and in Teaching English as a Second or Other Language (TESOL). Before becoming the Academic Director, I was an instructor here for four years. I also spent four and a half years teaching in South Korea and a year teaching writing to university students in New York City. In the ten total years of teaching English, I have learned so much about culture and communication from my students. I also enjoy sharing my culture with students. My passion for teaching English is matched only by my love of writing, reading, baseball, food, and exercise. I hope to share with my students the activities that help me live a good life.

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.

Monserrat and Efren

January 8, 2015


We arrived as a part of the Proyecta 100,000 - university students from Mexico. Right away, we saw that we were very welcome and we noticed how friendly the center is. It felt like home. Everything was prepared and ready for us. In Mexico, I am employed in advertising. My best memory from ELS DeKalb was a research project and presentation that I did about advertising. My teachers helped me prepare for this verbally and in writing. The material that is taught here is helpful because it is intensive and it is very practical. The language we learn we can use in everyday English. Of course, we enjoyed all of the resources made available to us and the activities. The Latino Resource Center prepared activities for us and showed us how Latino college students live and study in this country. We also participated together as a center in many activities such as our trip to Chicago where we shopped and saw the sites. We also went bowling and had many lunches together. Really, everything could not have been better. Right away when you begin at ELS DeKalb you can see that ELS DeKalb and this community is the perfect place to for your studies. Thank you ELS DeKalb, we will never forget you.

It was my first time visiting the United States. I wasn't sure what to expect. The first thing I noticed was how nice everyone was and the professionalism of the center. The teachers here are great - my favorite memory is preparing weekly for our presentations. The English that we learn, the quality is very good and the pace is very good. Studies here are intensive and I think it motivates students to really care about their education. My favorite experience here was our trip to Chicago with Mr. Tom. I have never been to a big city like Chicago before, so it was great where we arrived at Navy Pier and then in groups we went into downtown to view different sites and attractions. That will be a memory I will never forget.

-Efren and Monserrat,Mexico


November 4, 2014


ELS has a lot of nice students and friendly teachers. The center is awesome to study at, it's a quiet place where you can really improve your studying. The center is very helpful. The student activities allow the students to enjoy themselves and they are awesome. Since I came here I felt more responsible for my education because of the influence of the center. It feels like a home away from home.

-Majed,Saudi Arabia


November 4, 2014


It's a good place to learn English because the teachers help you understand and learn slowly starting with the first level. If you don't understand, the teachers will explain until you understand. I enjoy coming to class because the teachers and staff make learning and classes fun. The trips are enjoyable and there is always great things to see. ELS always chooses the right day to go on off-campus trips.

-Randah,Saudi Arabia


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

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

Millennium Park in the Summer

October 13, 2016

ELS DeKalb students enjoyed sightseeing and shopping on this beautiful summer day in downtown Chicago.

Swing Dancing Lessons in Downtown DeKalb!

June 15, 2016

Students learned the rock step and much more while having a great time at a local gathering place.

Swing Dancing Lessons at the House Cafe!

June 15, 2016

Students enjoyed a swing dancing lesson at a great gathering place in downtown DeKalb.

Session 1A Student Activities

February 12, 2016

This session students take in a professional basketball game watching the Chicago Bulls bring home a win and put their volunteer time in at a local food pantry.

Session 13 Student Activities

January 22, 2016

Christmas features Winter Wonderland at Navy Pier for students to ice skate and enjoy features such as a traditional Japanese folk dance; students get into the Christmas spirit with Secret Santa gift exchange.


2017 ELS/DeKalb  Application

2017 ELS/DeKalb Application

2017 ELS/DeKalb Center Application

Download PDF

DeKalb Fast Facts

DeKalb Fast Facts

Download PDF

ELS at Northern Illinois University

ELS at Northern Illinois University

Provides a brief description of ELS, our Programs and the DeKalb ELS Language Center at Northern Illinois University. The flyer also offers some specific attributes of the university, its programs and other helpful information.

Download PDF

ELS DeKalb

ELS DeKalb

Getting to know ELS DeKalb...

Download PPTX

Pre GRS LTC Self-Study Plan

Pre GRS LTC Self-Study Plan

Pre GRS LTC Self-Study Plan

Download PDF