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The English Language Center had its beginnings in the language classes that were offered through the Refugee Center from its inception in the 1980s.  In the 80s, refugees were offered 2 or 3 classes each week at either a beginning or an advanced level.

In 2001, the English Language Center became it's own program. Now, we offer a semi-intensive program providing 3 hours of level appropriate instruction 5 days a week.

The English Language Center offers classes in
                        English language
                        American Culture Orientations
                        Computer Literacy.

The core daytime classes consist of several levels including:

As well as a class for refugee elders.

Instruction in the classroom is structured around current research in adult language acquisition. The curriculum is derived from a joint effort between staff and participants. Methodology focuses on projects involving the language rather than lessons isolating grammar and vocabulary. Language is "discovered" as projects progress. Structured forms are presented according to relevance to the project. Topics generally focus on life skills, with the development of employability skills given special consideration. Competency in computer literacy is developed in the computer lab.

Refugees are people who are persecuted - or fear persecution - due to race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.

Immigrants are people born outside the United States who are permanent residents of the United States.

More information can be found on the United States Citizenship and Immigration website.

Here is some information on the countries that our refugees have come from in the last year. For more information about the current conflicts and crises in those areas, please check out the links below:

The International Rescue Committee

The United Nations Refugee Agency

Afghanistan is home to the world’s first oil paintings, found in the caves of Bamiyan, where the world’s two largest standing Buddhas once stood.  It is also the birth place of the poet Rumi and boasts the worlds “wildest national sport”: buzkashi, or goat-grabbing;

30 million
Population displaced by crisis: Nearly 9 million
Recognized national languages:

Called the “Land of Thunder Dragons” because of powerful Himalayan storms, Bhutan is home to the world’s highest unclimbed peak, Gangkhar Puensum. Bhutan is one of the only countries in the world where citizens have a constitutional obligation to protect the environment.

Population: almost 800,000
Recognized national languages:

Lake Tanganyika in Burundi is estimates to be the second largest, and second deepest, freshwater lake in the world. Burundi is also the home to Gustave, a Nile crocodile who – at 7 meters long - may be the largest crocodile in the world.

Population: 11 million
Recognized National languages:

There are several national parks and wildlife reserves in the Central African Republic that are home to hundreds of species of animals including the endangered black rhinoceroses and bongo antelope.               
Population: 4 million
Recognized national languages:   

Code d’Ivoire has two capitals; that official capital at Yamoussoukro and the commercial and administrative capital at Abidjan. Cote d’Ivoire is the largest exporter of cocoa and is home to the pygmy hippopotamus.

Population: 23 million 
Recognized national languages:          

The second largest country in Africa, the people of the DRC represent over 200 ethnic groups with nearly 250 languages. It is also home to the oldest national park in Africa; Virunga National Park.

Population: 67 million
People displaced by crisis: 1.6 million
Recognized national languages:

Because the constitution of Eritrea states “equality for all Eritrean languages” there is no official language. Eritrea’s waters are home to 1,400 fish species and 250 coral species (17-20% are found nowhere else).

Population: 6 million
Recognized National languages:

Ethiopia is one of the oldest nations in the world and the only country the world to have a 13 month calendar; it is also the only country in Africa with its own alphabet. The oldest fossil human skeleton was found in Ethiopia’s Great Rift Valley.

99 million
Recognized national languages:

One of the world’s oldest continuous civilizations, Iran has settlements dating back to 4000 B.C. and was home to one of the Seven Wonder of the Ancient World; the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus. Iran is currently home to 21 UNESCO World Heritage Sites including the Bam Citadel and the Lut Desert.

79.2 million
Recognized national languages:

Called the “Cradle of Civilization”; Iraq is the birthplace of the first written story “The Epic of Gilgamesh” as well as other well-known classics like “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves”. It is also one of the three largest date producers in the world.

 Population: 33.4 million
People displaced by crisis: 3.4 million
Recognized national languages:

Also known as ‘Burma’, Myanmar is the largest country in mainland Southeast Asia and, like the United States, is one of only three countries that don’t use the metric system of measurement. Myanmar is home to the largest book in the world.

Population: 53.2 million
People displaced by crisis: 1.7 million
Recognized national languages:

Pakistan boasts the largest canal-based irrigation system, the largest earth-filled dam, and the largest salt mine in the world; as well as the longest glacial system outside the polar region. Pakistan is also home to a number of famous archaeological sites including Harappa, Taxila and Takht Bhai.

Population:  200 million
Recognized national languages:

Home to the worlds “last Eden”, Nouabal-Ndoki National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to a variety of unique wildlife such as the okapi, African golden cat, and the giant otter shrew.  
Population: 4 million
Recognized national languages:

Formed in July of 1960, Somalia is known as the “nation of poets”, with poetry playing a major role in Somali society. This is also the place where camels were domesticated for the first time.

Population: 12.3 million
People displaced by crisis: 17 of every 100
Recognized national languages:

The two tributaries of the Nile, the White and Blue Nile, merge at Khartoum, the capital of Sudan where they flow north towards Egypt and the Mediterranean. There are more pyramids in the northern Sudanese desert than there are in Egypt.

Population: 40 million
Recognized national languages:

The capital city of Syria, Damascus, is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the word and the National Museum if Damascus contains artifacts from every age. Syria is a founding member of the United Nations.

Population: 22.8 million
Population Displaced by crisis:11 million
Recognized national languages:

The first gas lamp was invented in Lviv, Ukraine, a city in the west that is also known as the “café capital of the world “. Ukraine boasts a long tradition of crafting beautifully intricate Easter eggs, known as pysankas.  Ukraine is also home to seven UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the primeval beech forests of the Carpathians.

Population: 42 million
Population displaced: possibly up to half a million
Recognized national languages: