A day in the life of an Intensive English Program (IEP) student is both busy and fun. Whether it's attending classes or an organized social event, going on fields trips or to the grocery store, or joining friends for a meal or lively game of Jenga, a student's life is rich in community, cultural exploration, and learning.


IEP offers far more than outstanding ESL classes. We also offer social activities to help students practice English outside of class, make friends, have fun, and explore American culture. Past outings include trips to the Mall of America, historic Minnehaha Falls, and an apple orchard. We’ve also gone ice skating, had a Halloween costume party, and visited the Minnesota State Fair.

Not to be missed! University of Minnesota students from throughout the world love to gather at Culture Talks, where everyone enjoys coffee, cookies, and interesting cultural conversations.

A good place to startand stay connectedis through social media. Join us online!

MELP Talks Back

Advice for Future MELP Students

How Do You Get Around Campus?

What Do You Like to Eat Near Campus?

What Do You Like to Do with Friends?

Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions? This handy FAQ answers students' most frequently asked questions and gives you a sense of what your day-to-day life might be like on campus. More details may be found in the MELP Student Handbook.

You have the option of living in on-campus or off-campus housing. Consider the location, price, amenities, and support you will receive when you are deciding on a place to live. Wherever you look, there are many affordable options where you can be close to your classes, libraries, restaurants, and much more!

Fun Tip: Try living with roommates from different language backgrounds and cultures for more opportunities to practice your English!

Here's where you can find housing information in the Student Handbook.

If you live in an apartment (either on- or off-campus), you will have a kitchen and may cook meals at home. If you live in an on-campus residence hall, you will not have your own kitchen, but you will have a meal plan to eat at campus dining halls and have access to shared kitchen facilities in your residence hall. There are also many great restaurants near campus!

Fun Tip: Bring along your favorite recipe from home to try making while you are in the United States. It’s a great way to feel connected to home while sharing your culture with friends!

Here's where you can find dining information in the Student Handbook.

You can walk or take public transportation to a number of grocery stores near campus. Grocery delivery services make grocery shopping even easier!

Fun Tip: Meal planning can be a helpful way to figure out which groceries to buy each week. There are even apps to help with this!

Here's where you can find dining information in the Student Handbook.

All on-campus student housing features a laundry facility where unlimited use of washing machines and dryers is included at no extra cost. Most off-campus apartments have a facility with washing machines and dryers that charge a small fee. Laundromats are an option if a laundry facility is not available in your building.

Tip: Find a good time to do laundry each week and stick to it, since you are more likely to complete this task when it is part of your regular routine.

Managing money is a new skill that some students develop when they are away from home for the first time. From rent to tuition, you will be responsible for making payments on time. Most students open a bank account at one of the on-campus banks ((Huntington Bank and US Bank) when they arrive in order to access their money safely through a checking account, savings account, debit card, or ATM withdrawals.

Tip: Watch the video “What You Need to Know About Money for International Students” to learn about banking basics in the United States.

You may also find information about money and paying your bills in the MELP Student Handbook.

There are many affordable options for transportation available to get around on campus, including walking, biking, and taking the bus or light rail. There are also free campus shuttles and bikes for rent. Most students find that public transportation is much easier and cheaper than driving a car.

Fun Tip: Take a tour of the Twin Cities by light rail! From campus, you can get to downtown Minneapolis or Saint Paul and even the Mall of America and the international airport.

Here's where you can find transportation information in the Student Handbook

Your safety is very important to us here at the University of Minnesota, which is why campus has its own police department. There are many helpful resources to keep you safe, including text and email alerts and emergency phones across campus.

Fun Tip: UMN Libraries and Coffman Student Union are open late for studying and student events. If you are on-campus late at night, you can call the free SafeWalk Service to have campus security escort you to your car, the light rail, or your apartment!

Here's where you can find campus and public safety information in the Student Handbook.

MELP and the University of Minnesota take the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff very seriously. For the most current information about our COVID-19 response, see the Safe Campus COVID-19 website. Please contact us if you have any questions.

Having fun, meeting new people, and learning about other cultures is an important part of studying in our program. MELP offers weekly social activities and a conversation group to help our students practice their English. In addition, you’ll have the opportunity to join a University student group, attend sporting events, participate in intramural sports, and enjoy the vibrant art scene of the Twin Cities!

Fun Tip: Participating in events and activities outside of class is a great way to improve your English skills while relaxing and having fun!

Learn more in the Student Handbook:

Your physical and mental health are very important! The on-campus recreation center—called the RecWell—offers exercise equipment, pools, group fitness classes, and intramural sports to help you stay active. The on-campus clinic, Boynton Health Service, provides primary and urgent care, mental health counseling, an eye clinic, a dental clinic, a pharmacy, and much more.

Fun Tip: Join intramural sports or a group fitness class to meet other students who have the same interests as you!

Learn more in the Student Handbook:

MELP and non-degree-seeking students are not typically eligible for federal financial aid. However, there are some merit-based IEP Scholarships available for students who are enrolled in the program full- or part-time.

If you are a United States citizen, permanent resident, or eligible noncitizen (refugee/asylee), including MN Dream Act and/or qualifying DACA student, you may be eligible to apply for the CCAPS Scholarship. Types of aid can be found on the CCAPS Financial Aid website under the non-degree/guest section. 

Explore the Twin Cities

  • Weisman Art Museum
  • MELP Explore Grid, Entertainment 300x300
  • MELP Explore Grid Events
  • Farmers Market
  • Getting around town - light rail train
  • Great outdoors - Minneapolis beach scene
  • Restaurants
  • Mall of America
  • Sports and recreation - swimmers underwater
  • Target Field
  • Guthrie Theater
  • Winter Fun

Social Media

Share your news! Share your fun! Stay connected with IEP and MELP through these social media platforms.