Student Orientation

Welcome to inlingua Washington DC! We’re glad you have chosen inlingua Washington DC to learn English. In order to make your time at our school and (if applicable) your stay in the United States as safe, comfortable and productive as possible, we are providing you with important information about how best to study, how to adjust to life in the United States, health and safety information, immigration regulations and procedures, and additional information you will need while you are a student at our school.

New Student Orientation Session

All new inlingua Washington DC students are required to complete an in-person New Student Orientation Session during their first week of class. This session typically takes place on the first or second day of class and is conducted by a qualified inlingua Washington DC staff member, usually the school director or assistant director. During this mandatory in-person New Student Orientation Session, you will:

  • Learn about our school and important school policies
  • Receive information about how to receive student services from school administrators
  • Review important health, safety and welfare information
  • Complete an emergency contact form
  • If you were referred by an agent (third-party recruiter), complete an agent satisfaction survey
  • If you arranged student housing through inlingua Washington DC, complete an additional student housing orientation session
  • Receive the syllabus for your course and information about how you will be assessed (graded)
  • Learn how to receive a copy of our Student Handbook
  • Have the opportunity to ask questions and receive clarification
  • Receive a private, individualized orientation and advising session upon request

During your new student orientation session, you will also be asked to carefully review all of the information on this web page.

School Policies and Student Conduct

All of the school rules and policies you need to know about are located in the inlingua Washington DC Student Handbook and some are even posted in the school. You can receive a digital copy of the Student Handbook by clicking on the link above. In addition, you can receive a hard (paper) copy at any time by asking any member of the inlingua Washington DC administrative staff.

Some of our most school important rules and policies, including our expectations for student conduct, are:

  • To treat yourself, other students, your instructors and all inlingua Washington DC staff members with courtesy and respect. In class, be respectful of your instructor and fellow classmates, who may have different life experiences, beliefs and points of view. At inlingua Washington DC, we value and respect the uniqueness of each individual as well as his or her life experiences and beliefs, and we encourage our students to do the same.
  • inlingua Washington DC does not discriminate against anyone based on their age, race, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, national origin, native language, status as a parent or veteran, marital status, disability or health status, or political or personal beliefs. We strongly encourage our students to do the same.
  • inlingua Washington DC has a “zero tolerance” policy for violence, threats of violence, bullying and harassment. This means that if you see an act of violence, bullying or harassment, you must report it to a school official immediately. It also means that if you are guilty of such an act, you will be at risk of expulsion from the school. If you are an F-1 visa student, this also means that your SEVIS record will be terminated and that your immigration status will be put at risk.
  • To arrive to class on time (this means by 9:00 a.m. for students in our morning program or by 5:15 p.m. for students in our evening program) and to not leave class early, unless you have received permission from the school director or assistant director in advance. You must sign the daily attendance roster for each class session you attend, and you must never sign for a class session you did not attend.
  • To be an active and engaged participant in your learning process. inlingua Washington DC is dedicated to helping you learn English and improve your ability to communicate successfully in English. However, you must also be dedicated to your own achievement. This includes doing your best on all course assessment activities, such as the mid-term Progress Test, the end-of-term Achievement Test, and the end-of-term TOEIC assessment.
  • That you have the right to receive student services (including personal, academic and immigration advising) with the highest level of quality and without unnecessary delay. inlingua Washington DC has an “open door” advising policy. This means that if an inlingua Washington DC administrator is available, he or she will help you at the time you need assistance. You will not be required to make an appointment unless no staff members are available to help you at the time you need assistance (this occurs infrequently). Even if no one is available at the moment you need assistance, we are dedicated to providing you with the help you need as soon as we possibly can. Please do not be afraid to ask for help when you need it!

Living in the Washington DC area

The Washington DC area is a large, densely-populated urban center with over 6 million residents. As with all large cities, you should be aware of your surroundings at all times and understand that certain hassles are unavoidable in large cities. While the United States is relatively safe compared to many other countries, you should keep your personal safety in mind at all times. This includes not traveling alone to parts of the city you are unfamiliar with by yourself, especially at night, and taking common-sense safety precautions, such as being courteous to strangers. 

Washington DC has a humid subtropical climate, and the nation’s capital experiences four distinct seasons. Because Washington DC has all four seasons, with sudden fluctuation in temperature and climate, you should be prepared for hot and humid summers and cold, damp and snowy winters.

If you are interested in outdoor sports and activities near our campus, you will have no issue finding free outdoor recreational activities in Washington, DC. From hiking, running and biking routes such as the Capital Crescent Trail to awesome places like Rock Creek Park, there are many things to do outdoors in the nation’s capital. 

Our campus is located near convenient public transportation. However, if you plan to drive to school or drive at all while living in the United States, you should contact the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to determine whether you are required to obtain a state driver’s license in order to drive legally while living here. If you are an F-1 visa student, you will be required to bring a copy of your current, active Form I-20 to the driver’s license office. If you operate a motor vehicle in the United States, you must possess a valid driver license and have active automobile insurance. 

Also, in Washington DC there are toll roads, which means that you must pay to use them. You can pay for tolls with Pay-By-Plate, although people often have an E-Z Pass, which allows for quicker travel through toll plazas. With Pay-By-Plate, each time you travel through a participating toll facility, a camera takes a photo of your registered license plate and you will receive an invoice to your registered address. But E-ZPass is the preferred form of toll payment as it is also accepted at many other toll facilities around the country. 

The criminal justice system in the United States is stricter that in many other parts of the world. It is therefore very important that you obey all laws and regulations while you are here. This includes obeying all traffic laws and paying or resolving any traffic or parking tickets that you may receive.

In Washington DC, it is unlawful to:

  • Use or possess illegal drugs, including marijuana and prescription narcotics without a valid prescription
  • Consume alcoholic beverages if you are under the age of 21 (or if you are 21 or older, to consume alcohol in a public place with an open container such as a glass or open can)
  • Use or possess tobacco products if you are under the age of 21

Health and Safety Matters

Your health and safety are of the utmost concern to inlingua Washington DC. Although inlingua Washington DC does not require our students to purchase health insurance, we strongly recommend that you obtain some type of health insurance while in the United States. Unlike in many other countries, neither the government of the United States nor the government of Washington DC provides free health care to most individuals, including F-1 visa students. Also, the cost of health care, even for minor illnesses or injuries, is much higher in the United States than in most of the rest of the world. This is also true for many prescription medications.

If you experience a health crisis or emergency – defined as a serious medical condition or injury which, if left untreated, could result in permanent disability or a chronic serious medical condition – you have the legal right to be provided treatment in a hospital emergency room, even if you do not have health insurance and even if you do not have the money to pay for the care. However, you may receive a bill for these services, which could be extremely high (as much as tens of thousands of dollars) and which you may have the legal obligation to repay. If you experience an illness or injury that is not an emergency and you do not have a primary care physician in the United States, you can go to an urgent care clinic. At an urgent care clinic, you can receive immediate medical treatment for less serious illnesses and injuries for a reasonable price.

If you experience an emergency, injury or threat of danger that requires the immediate intervention of the police or medical personnel, you should call 911 from the nearest telephone. This includes feelings or thoughts of hurting yourself or others. However, you should not call 911 for non-emergencies, such as minor traffic accidents in which no one is injured. If you need help from the police or another government agency for a non-emergency, call 311 instead of 911.

Finally, if you see something suspicious that you believe could pose a threat to the safety of yourself or others, be sure to report it to an inlingua Washington DC administrator if you are at school at the time. If you are not at school, report suspicious activity to the police by calling 311 if it is not an emergency, or by calling 911 if it is an emergency.

Personal, Academic and Immigration Advising

As a student at inlingua Washington DC, you have the right to receive timely and accurate personal, academic and immigration advising from a qualified inlingua Washington DC Staff member. inlingua Washington DC provides personal advising and counseling related to adjusting to live in the United States and living in the local community; academic advising related to your program of study as well as educational options after you complete your English program with us; and immigration advising related to maintaining your F-1 status.

There is a special section in the Student Handbook for F-1 visa students that explains the rules and regulations related to maintaining your lawful F-1 status while enrolled at inlingua Washington DC. If you are an F-1 student, it is extremely important that you carefully read this section of the Student Handbook. You will also review this information during your in-person new student orientation session.

If you need advising that exceeds inlingua Washington DC’s areas of expertise, you will be referred to a qualified professional or you will be given access to a list of qualified providers. inlingua Washington DC provides this list of Additional Resources for Personal and Immigration Counseling to all students during their initial new student orientation session. Please keep in mind that inlingua Washington DC cannot provide legal or medical advice.

Important Immigration Regulations for F-1 Students

If you are an F-1 student, it is very important that you understand the rules and regulations related to your immigration status. For complete information about maintaining your F-1 status, please visit the Study in the States website, which is published and maintained by the United States Department of Homeland Security.

Some of the most important rules related to maintaining your F-1 status are provided below. However, this is not a complete list, so be sure to visit the Study in the States website!

  • Initial attendance students (those coming from abroad) may not enter the United States more than 30 days before their scheduled program start date, as indicated on their Form I-20.
  • New F-1 students must report to school by no later than their scheduled start date, and all continuing F-1 students must report to school at the start of each academic term.
  • F-1 students must maintain full-time status in the program by coming to class every day. F-1 students who incur an excessive number of absences will be subject to expulsion from the program and have their SEVIS record terminated for unauthorized drop below full-time status, as described in the school’s official attendance policy found in the Student Handbook.
  • An F-1 student who is unable to maintain full-time status in the program due to illness, injury or medical condition must speak with an inlingua Washington DC school official for advising as soon as possible. Depending on the nature of the condition, it may be possible for the student to be temporarily placed on a reduced course load (including being excused from coming to class) if properly authorized by a licensed physician or psychologist.
  • F-1 students must make normal progress by passing their courses and advancing through the program as anticipated by the design of our curriculum and defined by our Academic Success Policy, found in the Student Handbook. inlingua Washington DC is required by terminate the SEVIS records of students who fail to make normal progress.
  • F-1 students who are unable to continue in the program must inform an inlingua Washington DC school official, who will advise the student. F-1 students who withdraw from the program after receiving authorization from the school have 15 days to leave the United States.
  • F-1 students who need to travel abroad must receive approval from a designated school official (DSO), who must sign the travel endorsement on the second page of the student’s Form I-20. If you are an F-1 student, please do not leave the United States without first speaking with a school official for advising.
  • Upon successful completion of their program, F-1 students have 60 days to either transfer out to another SEVP-certified school, leave the United States or apply to change to another visa status. This 60-day period is commonly known as a “grace period.” During their grace period, F-1 students may not leave and re-enter the United States using their F-1 visa.
  • inlingua Washington DC’s F-1 students may not legally work while in the United States. If you are an F-1 student and work in the United States without authorization, your SEVIS record will be terminated and you will be required to leave the United States immediately.

Instructional Styles

inlingua Washington DC does not have a prescribed teaching methodology, but we do have an approach to English language teaching and learning that is student centered and based on the real-world communicative needs of our students. This means that the primary focus of all our educational activities is the student, not the teacher or the textbook. It also means that all students are expected to be active participants in classroom activities as well as any out-of-class field trips and excursions in which they participate.

While each inlingua Washington DC instructor has a personal teaching philosophy and a specific teaching style that is based on the totality of the instructor’s educational and life experiences, all of our instructors are dedicated to helping students learn English in a safe, comfortable, encouraging and creative environment that respects the individual needs of each student. Because our students have a wide range of learning styles, needs and preferences, and come from a rich variety of cultural and linguistic backgrounds, inlingua Washington DC does not attempt to impose a strict uniformity on our students’ classroom interactions. However, in order for learners to progress in their English language studies and make normal academic progress in our English program, they must be actively engaged in all classroom activities. This includes both verbal and non-verbal behavior that is constructive to and appropriate for the lesson. It also means that inlingua Washington DC respects the autonomy of each learner and that each learner has the right to engage the lesson in the manner he or she finds most comfortable, provided that this does not disrupt classroom activities or hinder the learning of other students.

Academic Expectations and How Best to Study

Below is a summary of inlingua Washington DC’s academic expectations for our students.

  • Each student will attend class faithfully, will arrive on time and will not leave early without first receiving prior approval from the school director or assistant director.
  • inlingua Washington DC understands that, from time to time, students may be unable to attend class. However, students must not develop a pattern of noncompliance with the program’s attendance policies, which are included in the Student Handbook and posted in every classroom.
  • Students will be active participants in the learning process and will, to the best of their ability, be fully engaged in all classroom activities.
  • inlingua Washington DC recognizes that in the educational expectations of some cultures and societies, students are discouraged from asking questions in class or speaking for significant periods of time. However, this is not the case in the United States or at inlingua Washington DC. In order to successfully attain each course’s expected learning outcomes, students must speak and listen in class. We expect students to ask questions when they don’t understand something and to seek clarification when needed.
  • Students will respect the learning needs and styles of others. This includes not interrupting others while they are speaking and not causing a disturbance in the classroom. Keep in mind that frequently exiting and entering the classroom is both disruptive to the lesson and disrespectful of others. If you are having an emergency that requires you to come in and out of the classroom, please go do the office of the school director or assistant director and ask to be excused for the rest of the day.
  • Do not use cellular telephones or other electronic devices during the lesson unless you are specifically asked to do so by your instructor, as this is likely to distract others and hinder their progress. There is a rest break in the middle of each daily class session, so if you must use your cellphone while class is in session, please do so during the break.
  • Each student will fully participate in all course assessment activities, including the mid-term Progress Test, the end-of-term Achievement Test, and the end-of-term TOEIC assessment. In order to pass the course and advance to the next level in the program, students must achieve a minimum passing score on the Achievement Test as described on their course syllabus.

inlingua Washington DC believes that the best way for English language learners to study is to be fully engaged in the language learning process and to use the language both inside and outside of the classroom whenever they can. This includes being exposed to as much English outside the classroom as possible. We encourage our students to read interesting books, magazine and newspaper articles, and internet material in English, as well as to listen to radio programs and watch television and movies in English. This will help enrich your vocabulary while exposing you to new grammatical structures and reinforcing those you have already learned. Literature comes in many forms, from video games and movies to novels and billboard advertisements; the more English you are exposed to, the faster your language skills will improve.

We believe that learning English should be exciting, not boring. The key is for you to find whatever interests, motivates and excites you and to explore it to help accelerate your acquisition of English. You will find that our instructors do not assign large amounts of homework to do outside of class. This is because they would prefer that you spend your time outside of class being exposed to what we call “authentic materials” (listening and reading materials that you encounter in the real world), not additional exercises or textbook material.

So, remember:

  • Ask questions
  • Use English boldly
  • Don’t be afraid to make mistakes
  • Come to class with energy, enthusiasm and joy

And the rest will take care of itself!

All programs and courses provided by inlingua Washington DC are avocational
in nature and not designed to prepare students for employment.