English Language Institute (ELI)


"Working on language through conversations that matter."

International Graduate Student Communication and Cultural Center

This free program is designed for international graduate students who speak English as a second language. Through small-group conversations that matter, students gain experience participating in class discussion, responding to questions, and listening effectively. IGSC3 coaches work with students to help them better understand US university expectations and gain insight into what students and instructors expect from each other in classrooms. IGSC3 students who are already teaching can practice lectures or lab presentations with their coach.

All international graduate students are welcome to attend and participate in the program.

  • Location: Inside the English Language Institute, Douglass Houghton Hall (DHH) G044
  • Watch this short video to see International graduate students share what they've gained by participating in IGSC3.


Despite campus closures, IGSC3 is still available for international graduate students! Sessions have now switched to online formats, and are available through a variety of platforms (Zoom, Google Hangouts, WeChat, etc.). 

At this time, IGSC3 offers a variety of language and social support options:

  • Participants may sign up for weekly informal conversations (virtual face-to-face meetings, online games, etc.), assistance with the language used in assignments, or professional/academic conversation and presentation practice.
  • Weekday, evening, and weekend appointments are available. 
  • Please email Sarah Isaacson, IGSC3 Program Director, at sisaacso@mtu.edu or Matt Luther, IGSC3 Lead coach, at mcluther@mtu.edu, to sign up for a session.  


Who Can Participate?

Interacting with faculty and studentsAll international graduate students are welcome to participate. The experience gained in the IGSC3 will enable international graduate students to participate more confidently in many contexts: 

  • Leading a lab discussion or teaching a class
  • Working effectively on teams and research groups
  • Presenting and representing Michigan Tech at conferences
  • Defending a thesis or a dissertation


About IGSC3 Sessions

During the FREE sessions with IGSC3 coaches, both one-on-one and in a small group setting, students have opportunities to improve many aspects of communication:

  • Vocabulary
  • Slang and idioms
  • Listening
  • Pronunciation
  • Conversation 
  • Cultural understanding and more . . . 


 Meet the IGSC3 Team

Sarah Isaacson

Sarah Isaacson

  • International Graduate Student Communication and Cultural Center (IGSC3) Program Director
  • Instructor, English Language Institute


  • Second language (L2) oral communication strategies
  • Strategies for and impacts of technology on L2 Reading
  • MA in TESOL, Ball State University; TESOL Certificate, Michigan Technological University; BA in English, UW-Stevens Point


Maia Barnhart
"Hello, I am a transfer student at MTU currently working towards a BA in English with minors in both Business and Spanish. I am excited to work with IGSC3 to help students meet their communication goals. See you there!" 

Woman with nose ring

Krysta Indish
"I'm an anthropology major with a French International minor from Alcona, MI. I enjoy learning about different cultures, discussing the history behind cultural practices, and using historical data to make maps."

Man in park

Matt Luther
"I am currently pursuing a BA in English with a minor in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). I aspire to work either domestically or internationally as an English instructor upon graduation."

Female coach

Taylor Hammond
"I am a Mechanical Engineering major with an Aerospace Engineering minor. I strive to create meaningful connections to foster a deeper understanding of individuals' experiences and thoughts and to aid in effective communication."


Grace Ojala
"I am a dual Applied Geophysics and Anthropology student planning to pursue a career as an archaeologist. I love getting to know people through conversation, and I am looking forward to a great semester with IGSC3!"

man in park

Nick Golden
"I'm a Biomedical Engineering student at Tech, and I have been a coach at IGSC3 for 4 years. I love learning about the amazing research work being done at Tech by our great international community!"

woman in front of rocks

Kendall Welling
"I'm a civil engineering student with minors in Spanish and global community development partnerships. I enjoy getting to know new people and learning about other cultures and am looking forward to my semester with the IGSC3!"

man in front of trees

Leo Wheeler
"Hi, my name is Leo Wheeler. I was born and raised in Houghton, and I love to spend my time outdoors or hanging out with friends. I am majoring in Forestry, with a minor in Ecology. I wanted to join this program because I plan to join the Peace Corps after college, and this will be a great first step for interacting with people from other cultures."