What is the Student Center?
The Student Center is a student lounge in the ELP's building where students can spend time between classes, practice English, check e-mail, read or simply relax. The Student Center is open Monday-Friday from 9:00-17:00 (except holidays). At all times, Student Center staff members are available to answer students' questions and help them practice English. The Student Center staff also arrange a wide variety of social activities.
How can I practice English outside of class?
In addition to practicing English in the Student Center, students can also sign up for a Conversation Partner. The Conversation Partners Program is free and matches students in the Intensive Programs with Penn students who are studying foreign languages. Conversation Partners meet for conversation practice and to learn about each other's cultures.
Please note: due to the Penn academic calendar, matches are only available in Fall 1 and Spring 1 sessions.
What types of student activities are available?
There are weekly activities in the Student Center including Common Hour, which is an opportunity for students to learn about campus and community resources. The Student Center also plans trips to a variety of locations in and near Philadelphia. For a complete list, go to our Student Services page.
Here are just a few examples:
- Historic districts and sites such as the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence was signed
- Philadelphia Museum of Art with 200 galleries and over 400,000 works of art
- Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, with many works by US artists
- Philadelphia Zoo
- Franklin Institute Science Museum
- Rodin Museum, with the best collection of sculptures by Auguste Rodin outside of Paris
- Theaters for performances of major Broadway plays
- Sporting events such as baseball, football, ice hockey, and basketball
- Ethnic neighborhoods such as Chinatown and the open-air Italian Market
- South Street (Philadelphia's version of Greenwich Village in New York City)
- Pennsylvania Dutch countryside, where the Amish population follows a simple lifestyle that includes transportation by horse and carriage (1 hour)
- Atlantic Ocean beaches (1.5 hours)
Many activities and field trips are included in the cost of the program while others require an additional fee. Activities vary by program. Contact the Student Services Coordinator for more information.
Can you describe Philadelphia?
Philadelphia is an exciting city that we refer to as "Philly". Here are a few quick facts about Philly.
- Philadelphia was the nation's capital from 1790-1800.
- The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States were written in Philadelphia.
- Philadelphia is the 5th largest city in the USA, 2nd largest city on the East Coast.
- The metropolitan area population is 1.8 million.
- The Philadelphia region is home to the second largest number of colleges and universities in the USA- 49.
- Philadelphia is 100 miles/160 km from New York City, 140 miles/225 km from Washington, DC, and 320 miles/516 km from Boston.
How far is the University of Pennsylvania from the city center?
The University is about a 20 minute walk or 10 minute taxi or bus drive from "Center City" Philadelphia. The trolley takes about 5 minutes. Students are also able to use the free Penn bus shuttle service to travel to Center City.
What activities are available in Philadelphia?
Philadelphia is a large city and has a wide range of museums, parks, shopping districts, theaters, sports arenas and other recreational activities available.
See the websites below for more information about Philadelphia and things to do here.
What are the commmercial or shopping hours in Philadelphia?
While the malls in the surburbs stay open later, most stores in the city are open 10am-7pm