The ELLS Programme is the outcome of the merging between two parent programmes at UIC: BA (Hons) in Contemporary English Language and Literature (CELL) and BA (Hons) in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL). Below is the sharing from both CELL and TESL alumni.


Edward from TESL 2015 Cohort

Time went by so slowly when I was a freshman, and then, as a senior, it goes by in the blink of an eye. The life in Phoenix Mountain is extremely monotonous, while these are the most fulfilling days I have ever had. The systematic knowledge taught on major courses in TESL program allows me to calmly solve problems related to teaching; both mock and real teaching experiences make me could confidently stand on the platform to deal with all kinds of emergencies happened in the classroom; what professors and instructors have done and taught also influence the way I think about and look at the world as the whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows. Majoring TESL also gave me the opportunity to reach out to a wider stage. In the fall of 2017, I was so lucky to get the chance studying as an exchange student at Swansea University in Wales, UK. The four-month exchange life has broadened my horizons and improved my English communication skills. At the same time, I also realized that the advantages of education system in UIC and the internationalization of the curriculum in TESL programme, which enabled us to quickly adapt to a whole new study environment. Being a student in UIC has laid a solid foundation for us to pursue further education in western countries. You may leave school, but it never leaves you. UIC and TESL make me a better person, and I will continue to pass on the concept of whole-person education to my future students.




Ken from CELL 2015 Cohort

I’m Ken from Y4 CELL. Actually I didn’t expect much from CELL when I got in at first; I was expecting only reading and writing. However, I was led to a Wonderland soon afterwards. I have acted in school plays, which marked the beginning of my college life on the stage of drama. I have experienced different lives through different roles I have played, such as King Oedipus in Oedipus and Henry Higgins in Pygmalion. I have met some great teachers in CELL. Dr. Xu Xi has cultivated my interest in poetry, which led me to choose poetry analysis for my final year paper. My advisor is Dr. Ben Barber, who always guides me with great patience. Prof. Charles Lowe is my mentor; he always comes at a time when we need help. Besides, I have learned thoughts from reading both classic literature and avant-garde literature as well as studying various literary theories. I am particularly drawn to post-structuralism and post-modernism, which I apply to my reading and writing as well. CELL makes me a real individual, whom I’ve never imagined to be.




Cindy from TESL 2015 Cohort

I’m Cindy, one of Y4 students from CELL. This program ain’t my first choice when I entered college. However, I’ve stayed behind for nearly four years now. I’m a lover of Chinese writing since my early time. Now I can write with better diction and deeper thoughts, after receiving massive training in composition. My English writing has a substantial improvement, which helps me a lot with graduate school application. I was involved in some dramas in CELL. Honestly I used to be a girl with performance anxiety. In CELL, I was taught to put aside my anxiety, focusing on the emotion and expression of the role I play. It’s like reading, with a special way. I never thought that I can experience literature, rather than just having a look. Recently I’m working on my final year paper with Dr. Ben Barber. For my paper I choose feminism, the one I love as my topic, and Ben tries his best to help me. I feel so lucky to work on what I love and enjoy, and CELL provides me with all the opportunities.




Joanna from TESL 2014 Cohort

Four years' undergraduate study in UIC is unforgettable and meaningful. The English immersion education, whole person education concept, excellent domestic and foreign faculties, massive learning resources, colourful community life and hall culture, and various overseas exchange programs have benefited me a lot. The choice of choosing TESL as my major adds a new colour to my college life. I will never forget the academic knowledge and learning skills that TESL teachers have taught me, nor the other knowledge I have gained here. Participating in TESL Academic Society has cultivated my organization and coordination ability. The Practicum in the local schools and mock teaching lessons taught me how to put theory into practice, tested my learning outcomes and reinforced my teaching skills. Additionally, TESL Angel and Student Tutor projects provided me with the opportunity to use what I have learned to communicate with teachers, teaching assistants and freshmen, which improved my communication and social skills. I am grateful for everything and everyone in TESL major and in UIC, which makes my university life rich and meaningful, and cultivates me to be an independent person with team spirit and critical thinking ability. Now I am in overseas, and thanks to my four years’ study in UIC TESL so that I could adapt myself well in a foreign teaching environment. I sincerely hope that UIC can do better and cultivate more international talents.




Jersey from CELL 2014 Cohort

The encounter with UIC is a life-changing journey. When I look back on this adventure, I can still recall many flashing moments composed by different people and things, which have filled my memories and led me to a bran-new world. I remember two years ago, a drama course on Shakespeare’s plays prompted me to learn and study the infinite possibility of interpretation and exegesis. In the world of literature, different rhetoric devices has led me to the wide expanse of the universe, real or imagined. Various critical methods have become the effective tools that allow me to sharpen my reading competence, while enhancing my aesthetic appreciation, or opening up my mind to see the different world. That was the first defining moment when I decided to set off the literary journey, to test the skills and abilities I possessed to venture out and see through it. Literature for me is not merely a study subject, but also a lens through which I can see the life experience from different perspective. I do not know how far I can go on this path, but I know that the interest and curiosity it gives, which drives me to explore the surrounding world, will be everlasting.




Ryan from TESL 2013 Cohort

After attending a UIC promotional event by chance, I followed my curiosity and started my adventure in UIC. I set a new goal after several prescribed courses in UIC. With one-year great effort, I successfully changed my major and joined TESL.

As one of the few students who changed their major to TESL, I hold a strong affection for TESL with which my future is closely bound up. In the TESL Programme, the subjects of Applied Linguistics enhanced my understanding of English language to a new level; the specialized courses relating to pedagogy propelled my desire to be a teacher; the Student Tutoring Scheme transmitted a strong sense of responsibility to me. The two internship experiences enabled me to empathize with the teachers and understand their difficulties.

I have never regretted the choice for TESL. I have gained extensive knowledge essential to be a great teacher from the TESL Programme and will cherish and enjoy every moment on the platform as a teacher.


       Ryan 1


Jango from CELL 2013 Cohort 

Studying in the MSc program in Fashion Design and Luxury Brand Management at Grenoble Ecole de Management in France

After graduating from UIC, I have furthered my study in France. There are students from ten different countries in my fashion class, and good English skills are essential for our communication. Luckily, CELL has equipped me with these skills. CELL has also trained me to research through databases as well as write professionally, which is useful for my group project on LV Case Study. In addition, thanks to CELL, I am able to present my new product design in a mature and calm manner in front of my program director, who also serves as a consultant for Chanel. Thinking back, in the CELL program we had various training on how to acquire new knowledge efficiently as well as on presenting and sharing the knowledge. These skills not only enable us to handle graduate studies and work after graduation very well but also distinguish us from other international students. The depth of thinking and the breadth of knowledge are the biggest presents I have received from CELL at UIC.



       Jiang Yushu

Claire from CELL 2013 Cohort

Hi, I am a senior student in CELL programme. Four years’ study in UIC brings me an excellent experience of integrated development, as well as the discovery of “possibilities”. The multicultural background of school offers a vibrant environment for academic study. Also, UIC’s cultural context is full of possibilities. I have benefited particularly from being in Division of Humanities and Social Science that is in itself interdisciplinary, as well as from the growing interactions between schoolmates within and across the faculties. At the same time, I have gained practical experience in academic studies. The programme help me develops the critical and analytical skills in academic field, which is necessary for further study. For me, studying in such an environment is just bliss.



       Claire方正 1

Rebecca from CELL 2012 Cohort

I appreciate these years’ study in literature, which broadens my views and gives me insight in life. I am grateful for all the instructions, encouragement, and help I received from my instructors and peers. Generally, my life in UIC is awesome. It is a pioneer in whole-person education and liberal arts education among Mainland universities. It makes me wholesome and gives me a lot of freedom and expectation. I find I am totally free and able to do anything I want. UIC is still not well-known, but every time I refer to it, a sense of pride arises. I love it and I will continue to grow with UIC.


       Rebecca林晴佳 1



Chester from TESL 2012 Cohort

Working in Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Shanghai

The life in UIC is truly a memorable experience. Academically, TESL has offered me not only professional trainings in teaching skills and linguistic knowledge but also the ability to speak English fluently. Personally, UIC has provided me with a truly liberal environment which is hard to find in mainland China’s tertiary education.  Additionally, what make UIC stands out from other colleges are the selection of General Education subjects of great quality. Take the chance to fully explore all the possibilities that you will encounter in UIC. UIC can offer more than you can imagine!


       Chester 1


Sally from TESL 2012 Cohort                                  

Working in Operations Department at HSBC in Guangzhou

It is really worth studying in UIC. The college provided me with a cross-cultural study environment, which helped give me a global perspective. Through my studies at UIC, I established my career goals, gained specialized knowledge in classroom teaching and took part in many interesting campus events such as Traveling Sharing and Environmental Activities. My instructors were not only professional and well-qualified, but also kind and humorous, which made my classes both informative and engaging. Outside of class, it was my friends that really made my UIC worthwhile. Because UIC has such a diverse student body, my friendships extended beyond the boundaries of age, cultures and nationalities. We shared moments of happiness and sadness, learned from each other and had many unforgettable experiences.

I love UIC, and I will cherish every experience of my UIC life.



Virginia from TESL 2012 Cohort

I am so proud that I can study TESL in UIC. The teachers in the TESL program are very good; they help me a lot in both study and daily life. I really love the classes about linguistics; they help me a lot when I learn other languages. I learn some basic knowledge about sentence structures and word usage. I also enjoy the courses about teaching. When I do the volunteer jobs in other countries, those knowledge help me to perform well in teaching.

Besides the courses, some projects in TESL are useful and unique. TESL Angel provides me a platform to teach English for Chinese and teach Chinese for foreigners. I learn a lot of teaching skills in this project. Practicum also gives me other teaching skills in primary schools. TESL is a major that teaches you a lot of practical skills and theoretical knowledge. I LOVE TESL.



Yvonne from CELL 2011 Cohort

Doing her master's degree of Literary and Cultural Studies in University of Hong Kong

I’ve been lost like many people, but when I look back the path I’ve walked at my fourth year in college, I am sure I will not be going in a wrong direction even I don’t know what waits ahead.

I’ve learned how to be independent, how to make proper arrangement of the time, and how to live a happy and fulfilled life. From elective courses I find out my own interests. No matter I like it or not, at least I get to know my interest and talents. Literature is like a piece of land to me, which enables me to harvest during the process of watering, grass removing and cultivating rather than getting fruits directly. And I know these harvests are more valuable than the fruits.      


       20160520 Graduate Sharing 潘乐颜

Mia from CELL 2011 Cohort

Doing her master's degree in University of Nanjing

My friends joked that I seem unchanged and I am  always mistaken for a Y1 student. I admit that I don’t get prettier during my four-year college life. Life at UIC is so stressful that I have little time to dress up. However, I have received so much in return. UIC has enabled me to become a more confident and knowledgeable young lady. I never thought that I could give a presentation in front of the class, write a   several-thousand-word English essay and read different kinds of literary works. Now, all these are parts of my life.      


       20160520 Graduate Sharing 冯展君

Julia from CELL 2011 Cohort

Doing her master's degree of TESL in University of Pittsburgh

Everybody says UIC is a unique college. But for me, one of the first CELL Programme students, UIC features more in its cooperation-emphasized teaching module, appropriate curriculums and its warmth of humanity shining in its concept of liberal arts rather than its foreign faculties, villa-style twin accommodation, and double graduation certificates acknowledged in both mainland China and Hong Kong. Here we meet roommates from different programmes, different teachers in every semester. We have diversified elective courses that suit everyone’s interest and possibility, and make friends with many talented peers from student interest clubs. I’ve had a happy and fulfilled year here, growing up with the young UIC and new-born CELL.

       20160524 Graduate Sharing 朱雨男

Olivia from TESL 2011 Cohort

Working in marketing for a German cooperation in HK

I studied in the TESL program at UIC from 2011 to 2014. Four years of training provided in TESL, in particular giving presentations, turned me, who used to tremble on stage, into a proficient public speaker so that I adjusted well to my graduate study in Hong Kong. The skills and abilities that I have gained through my undergraduate study in TESL are also beneficial to my work after graduation. Currently working as a marketing specialist at an international company in Hong Kong, I am required to run training sessions and seminars for clients in Mainland China, as well as present at company exhibitions. Such tasks are very similar to giving presentations in TESL, but my audience has changed from my fellow students to clients. In these occasions, the ability to adapt to change is very important, which I have acquired through the intimating but effective training for “lesson plan”, “mock class” and “practicum” in TESL at UIC. Furthermore, the professional knowledge that I have learned in the TESL program has helped me stand out in written tests and interviews and earned me a freelance job as an education editor as well.

       Olivia Ziyang Guan

Xindy from TESL 2011 Cohort

Doing her master's degree of TESOL in the University of Pennsylvania

Since the first semester in UIC, I have made up my mind of furthering my studies in the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn).  I valued my life in UIC, seeing it as precious opportunities for me to prepare myself for future challenges and difficulties, and truly grow up.  During the four years, I listened to each lecture attentively, finished each assignment seriously, participated in various activities on and off campus, and got along with classmates, professors and staff of diverse cultures. I have been working as hard as possible, but I also enjoy my university life as much as I can. Finally, my dream came true and the result was beyond my imagination. UPenn chose me and awarded me with assistantship and scholarship.

What I do want to tell every UICer is “Please try your best whenever you can. If you succeed, your life will certainly be different. Even if you fail, you can still learn a lot from this process, and you will never regret for not trying.”



Alina from TESL 2011 Cohort

Working at UIC as Teaching Assistant

On the first day of my campus life, our teacher told us that “I’d rather teach you how to fish than just give you the fish”. At that moment, I realized that my choice was right.  I never thought that I could have the ability to solve problems and make decisions independently. Thanks to what I have learnt and experienced in UIC, both the professional knowledge and rich experience give me more power and confidence to face difficulties and challenges in my future life. 

I will never forget the days I studied and lived in UIC. It is my pleasure to grow with UIC; all the memories, experiences and knowledge are the most precious wealth of my life.



Luman from TESL 2011 Cohort

Doing her master's degree of TESOL in the University of Hong Kong

The four years spent in UIC is worthwhile. I feel exhausted sometimes but with full of happiness and fulfillment. During the four years, I have volunteered as a home tutor to provide free teaching for migrant workers’ children as well as become an international volunteer at Fr. Ray Foundation in Thailand. In addition, as the student representative of the opening ceremony of the HKBU Summer Programme in 2013, I had my precious moment to deliver a speech with honor and confidence. Moreover, taking an internship as a secondary school English teacher and attending the Summer Programme held by the University of Oxford have brought me distinctive experience and strengthened my determination to be an English teacher in the future. With the free international platform provided by UIC, I have been able to broaden my horizon and chase my dream.

In UIC, we study hard day and night to challenge ourselves for meeting the strict GPA system. Thanks to all of our teachers’ devotion. They are not only our teachers but trustworthy friends who are always willing to share with us. What I have gained in this college is not only the recognition of Prof. Xu Jialu Whole Person Education Award but also the belief for the bright future. I have never regretted my choice as a UICer. Without the choice, I can never be who I am today, and the days I spent here definitely deserve to be cherished in my mind forever.



Rhea from TESL 2011 Cohort

Working at China Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. as Assistant

My four-year undergraduate life proves again that the choice of studying at UIC and TESL is one of my best choices. After studying different courses in TESL program, I gradually grasp the skills of exchanging the roles between teachers and students. I am very grateful for the various precious opportunities provided by TESL that helped me consolidate and apply what I have learned to a practical field, such as TESL Angel Program, Student Tutor Program, Practicum, Mock Class, and Mini-teaching. These experiences brought me to a larger stage and the pleasure of “I’d rather teach you how to fish than just give you the fish”. A teacher once told me that, “the task of discovering one-self is more important than only focus on studying at college life”. And now, I am very confident and proud to say that, I have been discovering myself and also being the one I am looking forward along and after my four-year college life at UIC and TESL.



Vivian from TESL 2010 Cohort

Doing her master's degree in Higher Education at the University of Hong Kong

UIC is unique, independent and confident. It will provide you with a unique learning and living experience that is definitely different from other universities the helps you build your unique characteristics; it teaches you to live independently and think critically. Being a part of UIC and you will get the confidence to be strong enough to face the challenges in your future life.


       Vivian 0103

Brian from TESL 2010 Cohort

Working at Zhuhai Elephant Abrasives Co., Ltd as Oversea Marketing Executive

Life in UIC is full of pressure and fun. Students here work hard and play hard. It is no doubt to say that the Whole Person Education brings lots of happy to us, meanwhile, it develops and improves students’ competence and help them to relax and enjoy the life.

TESL is a big family which full of love. People always work like a team no matter are the professors or the students. The professors and students care about each other so much. We get a lot of happy memory but also we have been through lots of the hard time together. That’s what a family means to.



       Brian 0103

Alice from TESL 2009 Cohort

Doing her master’s degree of TESOL in the University of Edinburgh, UK

Choosing a university is like purchasing a piece of jewelry—“decent” is good, “suitable” is better and “value maintainable” is the best. My choice of UIC lies in its comprehensive English teaching environment. For any advanced English learner who wants further studies overseas, a university like UIC is undeniably the best. 

Speaking of my four years of study at UIC, I am full of appreciation for it has given me a platform to prove and promote myself in my learning, let alone the offer I obtained from one of the well-known overseas universities after I graduated from UIC. Even if the academic pressure here is unavoidable, my college life is more about memories of the comfortable living environment, the colorful extra-curriculum activities and friendly relationships with professors in and out of class.

On the one hand, under the principle of whole-person development, UIC is ideal for solid academic development; on the other hand, its lively college life offer students many opportunities to participate in club activities, vacation programs and all kinds of social practices.



Kathy from TESL 2009 Cohort

Doing her master’s degree of English Studies in City University of Hong Kong

Looking at my four-year college life, I thought it was fulfilling and meaningful. It was meaningful because I had chosen the right school and right major. In fact, I was confused about my future career before I went to college. Due to coincidence and preference, I chose UIC and TESL. Now I would say that it was a wise choice. Honestly, taking courses with English as the medium of instruction sounded quite scary at the beginning. Like many other high school students, I regarded English with reverence before I came to UIC. But now, she is more like a friend. Although I have never stopped keeping up with her, she is not as formidable as she used to be. Most importantly, I would like to express my sincere love to the TESL family. My teachers, TAs and fellow classmates, all of you were irreplaceable in my wonderful college life. Different from the 18-year-old girl who was perplexed about the future, now I can confidently say that I love English teaching and I would like to be an outstanding English teacher. First of all, I would like to give my earnest thanks to my teachers, especially my major course teachers including Edith, Gary, Dave, Irene, Terry, and others. Although students should rely on themselves in their study, in my opinion, teachers play a significant role in students’ growth and development. Teachers’ patient guidance and concerns made me feel even more respectful and longing for my career. Also, I would like to give my special thanks to my major course TAs, foreign TAs and Stella, a senior who graduated in 2008. Thank you all for your help and support to my study in the past four years. I decided to focus on TESL in my postgraduate study. Since I was determined to be a good English teacher, nothing could hold me back. Thanks to UIC and TESL for offering me such wonderful memories. I would bring the joy and happiness with me as I continue my teaching journey.



Stephanie from TESL 2007 Cohort

Doing her master’s degree of Education in the University of Hong Kong

You deserve to study in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) in UIC. Graduate dfrom TESL, I can say that with great confidence. Now I am a Master of Education student at the University of Hong Kong (HKU). Thanks to my TESL life in UIC, I have established a solid foundation including academic knowledge and research capability. The courses in TESL were concerned with linguistics, English language study, and teaching. All of these have helped me to be theoretically ready for further study. Evidence indicates that TESL students are more flexible and more adequate in teaching and conducting research. Equally important, there are a lot of volunteer activities and practicum opportunities for TESL students. Taking active parts in these activities, I have learned how to serve others and apply what I have learned into real practice. In short, TESL life is rich, challenging, enjoyable and fruitful.



Kim from TESL 2007Cohort

Teaching at Dulwich College International High School Programme, Zhuhai

My college life in UIC,which was always full of diversification and creation, was fruitful and meaningful. I have become tolerant, sensible and considerate as I see things in life. When I start working, I put what I have learned into practice. I miss my college life very much.



Anna from TESL 2007 Cohort

Teaching at Dulwich College International High School Programme, Zhuhai

My college life in UIC,which was always full of diversification and creation, was fruitful and meaningful. I have become tolerant, sensible and considerate as I see things in life. When I start working, I put what I have learned into practice. I miss my college life very much.