Many international students who come to the United States begin their journey in America by studying English. Oftentimes, though, ESL courses represent just the beginning of the international students’ American experience. Many foreign students decide to move on to higher education in the US, and then try to parlay that education into securing internships and long-term job opportunities in the vast American job market.

This is a journey that is not without its challenges, however. Students holding F-1 visas face a myriad of obstacles on everything from limits on internship and work opportunities, limited length of stay in the country, transferring credits when changing schools, to navigating what can often seem like an endless stream of rules and regulations.

That’s why foreign students exploring studying in the US need to choose wisely before making the big leap. Students need to make sure that the institutions they choose not only offer the courses they want to take, but also have the resources, experience and guidance to help them navigate the system, to guide them on getting internships, higher education degrees, jobs, and, of course, keeping all of this affordable.

That’s the promise of an exciting new partnership recently announced between Computer Systems Institute(CSI) and Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU).

Computer Systems Institute (CSI)

CSI, which has been serving international students for 25 years, offers ESL courses and Certificate programs in Business, Healthcare and Information Technology at its six campuses in Chicago and Boston. With CSI’s career-focused education, each field of study includes an ‘externship’ requirement that will place the student with a relevant company or organization related to their course work.

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Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU)

Indiana Wesleyan University is a Christian, non-profit, comprehensive university of the Wesleyan Church that’s committed to global liberal arts and professional education at its main campus in Marion, Indiana, and also to global students online. IWU offers more than 80 undergraduate degrees, 57 graduate degrees and 9 doctorate degrees.

The two institutions, who between them have nearly 150 years of experience in higher education, have teamed up in a collaboration that is sure to open up vast new opportunities for international students in the US, while also making their lives easier.

The highlight of the partnership is the international student journey, where students who start at the beginning taking ESL courses at CSI can easily move on to certificate level programs at CSI and then to Bachelors and Master’s degree programs at IWU. Students can take advantage of easy transfer of credits, work opportunities in their related fields of study, low-cost tuition and other fees, and the support from both institutions towards student success. The partnership is slated to begin in 2022.


“The CSI-IWU partnership is incredibly exciting,” said Julia Lowder, CEO of Computer Systems Institute. “Our institutions have been providing solutions to domestic and international students for decades. Together, we have connected forces to provide a one-of-a-kind solution to students that focuses on key areas of academic and career development.  Together, through this partnership, we are developing innovative solutions to provide to students, employers, and our communities. Our partnership is designed for the long-term success of our students and our institutions.”

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According to Carson D. Castleman, Ph.D., Vice President of Student Experience at IWU, the partnership between the two schools will open up a world of opportunities for students looking to advance their careers in the US and beyond.

Common Goals of Advancing Students

“This partnership helps bring two strong education providers together with the common goal of advancing students with innovative learning opportunities.” Castleman said. “The IWU-CSI partnership is a unique opportunity to provide students with Certificate Program completion in their field of study coupled with well-rounded ethical based bachelor level degree programs. Additionally, students will be afforded the opportunity to gain access to undergraduate and graduate degree programs that are flexible while helping them become leaders and professionals across the world.”

Besides the incredible world of learning opportunities, the partnership will help reduce the logistical burdens on students by putting their career paths under one umbrella while also reducing the all-too-common financial pressures international students often face.

“In a way, the partnership is a bridge program that allows international students to become acquainted with life in the US and the academic rigor of a college setting at CSI, prior to committing to a university such as IWU,” the two schools said in a joint press release. “The advantages of credit transfer, low-cost tuition at both institutions, and the support from both institutions towards student success, will give international students all over the world the opportunity to fulfill their dreams and goals.”