Program Details

Welcome to free English classes for immigrants and refugees

Welcome to ILI’s Free English Program!

We’re happy to help you learn more English. With our free English classes, you join a welcoming classroom environment where you can learn English, learn about US culture, and make new friends in Massachusetts. We want you to feel comfortable speaking, understanding, and using English from day one.

Our free English classes focus on practical skills to help you manage your daily life, connect with your local community, and succeed in your career. You will learn English using hands-on materials, videos, books, pictures, real-life situations, fun repetition, and natural conversation. Our free English classes include pair and group work, active participation, and lively activities.

Program Info

Tuition Fees Free
Language levels Beginner to advanced
Location ?
X

Online

Taking classes online means receiving live lessons with your ILI teacher via a video call at a pre-scheduled time.

In-person

In-person lessons take place at our campus in downtown Northampton, MA and require your physical attendance.

Online / In‑person
Minimum age 17
Frequency Open enrollment

Group Size

Maximum 14

Course Timings

Duration September through June

Who can join the Free English Program?

Students must be living in the U.S. permanently (not on a temporary visa) and must be at least 17 years old.

Students enrolled in the Free English Program are eligible to apply for the Dean’s Beans Organic Coffee Scholarship to join the Intensive English Program.

ILI also offers free English classes for people in the US temporarily.  Free English Open to All classes are taught by teachers in training as part of our TESOL Certificate Course.

Schedule

Our group English classes run face-to-face in our friendly school in downtown Northampton or online. Either way, you join a helpful community that will support you.

Class times and days depend on your level of English which we will evaluate when you register for classes.

Students and staff enjoying Dean's Beans coffee during their break.
Students and staff enjoying Dean’s Beans coffee during their break.

Good reasons to choose ILI

Here are just some of the benefits of taking your intensive English program with us at ILI. We hope to see you soon!

  • Highly interactive student-centered ESL classes
  • Caring and highly qualified English instructors
  • Certificate of completion with CEFR level (A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2) of ESL proficiency
  • Free career and academic counseling
  • Free extra speaking opportunities with our Volunteer tutor program.
  • Scholarship opportunity for qualified students to enroll in ILI’s Intensive English program
  • Great location with nice downtown area and natural landscape for hiking and sports close by.

Our teachers

Our free English program teachers are professionals with Master’s Degrees or TESOL certificates and a minimum of one year teaching experience in creative and student-centered teaching. ILI has been teaching languages and training teachers since 1984, bringing students the best learning experiences.

ILI instructors are skilled at collaborating with each other to create dynamic and engaging curriculum and materials based on student feedback and goals. Our teachers stay current with innovative teaching techniques and methodologies through professional development and conferences.

Feedback

“When I started the lesson, I didn’t believe in myself, and I was embarrassed when I was speaking. But the teacher showed us that he trusts us and now I speak better.”

Fatma Demirhan

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, United Way of Hampshire County, Baystate Health, and Health New England provide much of the funding for this program. We also thank the many generous local businesses and individual donors who make the classes possible.

Program Info

Tuition Fees Free
Language levels Beginner to advanced
Location ?
X

Online

Taking classes online means receiving live lessons with your ILI teacher via a video call at a pre-scheduled time.

In-person

In-person lessons take place at our campus in downtown Northampton, MA and require your physical attendance.

Online / In‑person
Minimum age 17
Frequency Open enrollment

Group Size

Maximum 14

Course Timings

Duration September through June

Formats

In-person, or Online?

Our Free English lessons at ILI are available as:

  • face-to-face group classes you attend at our school in Northampton, or
  • live online group classes which take place on Zoom.
students working in pair using blocks to practice specific grammar
Students using blocks to practice specific grammar.

In-person, Face-to-Face Group English classes in Northampton, Massachusetts

Come into our school in downtown Northampton for your free English class, and you’ll soon be a part of our friendly community of language learners and teachers.

We’re just a few minutes’ walk from the Roundhouse parking lot and the Peter Pan Bus Terminal (Peter Pan line, R42, R44).

Online Free Group English classes with ILI for refugees and immigrants

Our online classes will also be with a real humans, in real time. The lessons will work in just the same way as with the in-person option, and we’ll make sure you progress just the same too.

One big benefit of online classes is that you can do it from home. This can help if you have transportation difficulties to get to our school. If you’re a very busy person, you also save time by just logging in and out for your lesson.

Northampton, Massachusetts is in the Eastern Time Zone (ET) and observes daylight saving time (DST).

Days and Times

Schedule for Free Evening Classes

Online

  • Beginner to intermediateMonday & Wednesday, 6pm-8pm
  • AdvancedMonday & Wednesday 7pm-9pm
  • High intermediate to advancedTuesday & Thursday 6pm-8pm

In-person

  • Beginner to advanced
    In-person
    Monday & Wednesday 6:30pm-9pm

Schedule for Free Daytime Classes

In-person only

  • High intermediate to advanced
    In-person
    Monday – Friday (5 days a week), 9am-12pm

Enrollment for the daytime classes is for one 12-week course:

  • January 8-March 29, 2024
  • April 1-June 22, 2024
  • September 16-December 6, 2024

Drop-in classes

Are you on the wait list or don’t qualify for the Free English Program?

Try our drop-in free classes! These free classes are taught by our teachers-in-training, and they are open to anyone wishing to improve their English language skills (students must have at least a high-beginner level of English to participate).

Come to one class or all the classes – it’s up to you. No registration is necessary!

Online Drop-in Classes: Date TBD

THURSDAYS from 5pm-8pm (EDT) 

(if you can’t come right at 5pm, you can join the class anytime before 7pm)

Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/8042299880 

A group of TESOL participants who have taught the ILI drop-in Free English classes.

Questions

Got a question?

We’re here to help make it as easy as possible for you to get from where you are now, to studying English in Massachusetts with ILI.

Here are some questions other students have asked us:

Selected FAQs

The Free English Program is for immigrant and refugee adults who live in western Massachusetts. Students ages 17 and up are eligible for the program. The program is for people living permanently in the US.

Classes begin in September and end in June. We have ongoing enrollment throughout the year, which means you can sign up anytime.

Evening classes meet two nights a week. Our online classes meet on Zoom from 6-8pm on Monday & Wednesday or Tuesday & Thursday. Our in-person classes meet on Monday & Wednesday from 6:30 – 9 pm at ILI in Northampton. We also offer a 12-week upper intermediate-advanced level intensive class that meets 5 days a week: Monday-Friday from 9am-12pm for 12 weeks. In addition to class time, students in all classes are assigned weekly independent work.

Yes! Students in the Free English Program meet with ILI’s College and Career Advisor at least once per year to map out a plan for achieving your goals. Some students are interested in going to college, others are looking to find a better job. The College and Career Advisor can help with these decisions.

In addition to class time and independent work each week, enrolled students can participate in online or in-person conversation groups, and writing classes. Students can also request the support of a free tutor for extra practice outside of class time.

Fill out the online Free English Program inquiry form and someone will contact you by email, text or phone call.

A smiling portrait photo of Laura Robinson.

Ask Laura a question about our Free English Program

If you can’t find what you’re looking for, please get in touch with us.

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Ready to get started with our Free English Program?

Registering for the Free English Program couldn’t be easier! Simply follow the steps below to get started:

  1. Register for our Free English program by filling in the form
  2. We will contact you within a few weeks to schedule a placement test
  3. If classes are full, you will be placed on a waiting list.

Still not sure?

Not a problem! If you are searching for more information you can:

The ILI Promise

At ILI, we believe that all our actions should stem from grace and loving kindness.

Portrait of Caroline Gear - Executive Director
  • We operate as an equal opportunity organization.
  • We nurture relationships beyond the classroom.
  • We are committed to providing the highest quality language instruction and teacher training.
  • We promote intercultural understanding and celebrate the diversity in our local communities.
  • We work collaboratively to build and sustain the communities we serve.
  • We believe in life-changing teaching and learning.

Other ways to learn

Private English Lessons

Male student writing about first US experience.

Choose Private English Classes for exclusive one-on-one time with your teacher, or add them to your Intensive English Program for an extra boost.

English for the Workplace

A large group of ESOL students who work in a hospital.

Workplace English boosts English language communication skills in your place of work. Individual or group, online or face-to-face, it’s all possible.

The Intensive English Program

IEP students standing in the courtyard in front of ILI.

Our intensive English program delivers 21 hours of class time per week with intakes every four weeks. It’s friendly and fun and you’re welcome.

English Summer Courses

Advanced ESOL students from the Fulbright Foundation.

Our intensive English program delivers 21 hours of class time per week with intakes every four weeks. It’s friendly and fun and you’re welcome.