You are Welcome Here!

We welcomed almost 70 students to the IELP for Winter quarter. If there is a new student in your class, please give her or him a nice, warm welcome to Seattle.  We went high tech this quarter for the  Strategies for Success workshop at new student orientation. Students answered questions with text messages. These messages appeared live on-screen, so we learned a lot about each other.  I wanted to share the responses with everyone.  So here they are!

What are my goals?


What do I want to try in Seattle?


What am I good at?


What questions do I have about classes?


Tours in Seattle

In Seattle there are many ways to experience the rich culture and history behind many of our neighborhoods and sites. One way to do this is by tours. Tours are a fun way to learn more about a city, visit place you may have never noticed before, and have an opportunity to ask questions!

Below are some fun tours in Seattle, click on the title to learn more!


Pike Place Market

Seattle Free Walking Tours

Tours in large cities like Seattle can be very expensive. Seattle Free Walking Tours does not charge a fee and a tip, instead they ask you to “pay what you feel”. This means that you can pay as little or as much as you’d like.

This company offers two tours:

  1. Market Experience Tour
  2. Seattle 101

The Market Tour focuses on Pike Place Market while Seattle 101 focuses on downtown Seattle, Pioneer Square, and the waterfront. The Market Tour is a little over an hour long, and the Seattle 101 tour is about 2 hours long.

Washington Arboretum Tours


IELP students on a tour at the arboretum

On Sundays at 1PM you can stop by the Graham Visitors Center to go on a tour at the Washington Arboretum! You can learn about plants, ask questions, and enjoy the park!

On the first Thursday of the month you can stop by the Graham Visitors Center at 11AM to go on a Tram Tour! However you do need to register online.

Both of these tours are free. See here to learn more!

Click here to read about when IELP students when to the arboretum!

Olympic Sculpture Park Tour


The Olympic Sculpture Park

The Olympic Sculpture Park, an outdoor exhibit, is a great place to enjoy the weather and see some cool sculptures! The tour lasts about an hour and you can learn all about the history, landscape, and of course, the sculptures themselves!

Check out the calendar here for more specific dates and times!

Theo Chocolate Factory Tour


IELP students and volunteers enjoying the free samples at Theo Chocolate

You can take a peek inside the factory of Seattle’s very own chocolate maker: Theo Chocolate! A typical tour is $10 per person, lasts about an hour, and includes chocolate sampling!

They also have fun events such as “Kids Ganache and Chocolate Bark Class” where you spend the day learning how to make chocolate ganache and bark. See here for more information.

On the first Thursday of the month starting August 2016 Theo Chocolate will begin offering 2 free tours that day. Make your reservations in advance!

You can book a tour here.


Underground Tour


Here you can see glimpses of Seattle’s past

In 1889 there was a large fire in Seattle. When officials began rebuilding the city they actually built it on top of some of the older, burnt sections of Seattle! Now there are many passageways and basements underneath the Seattle we know.

The Underground Tour takes people down to the area beneath Pioneer Square. Tickets are $20 for adults, or $17 with your husky card!

Visit here to learn more.



Visit Bellevue

Bellevue is a neighboring city to Seattle, it is easy to get to by bus. Either the 271 from UW Seattle Campus or the 550 from Downtown Seattle can get you there in a jiffy!

Bellevue Square Mall


Bellevue Square Mall, often referred to as “Bell Square” is a large shopping center with popular stores like ZARA, Macy’s, Nordstrom, UNIQLO, GAP, Lego, and more! Beecher’s Cheese, the popular cheese store in Pike Place recently opened a new location in Bellevue Square!

There is a skybridge that links Bell Square to Lincoln Square – where there is a movie theater, a bowling alley, and much more!

Bellevue Art Museum


The Bellevue Arts Museum (BAM) is located right across the street from Bellevue Square Mall and Lincoln Square. They have many exiting exhibits, check them out here. Tickets are $10 for students with ID cards, $12 dollars for adults. However, each first Friday of the month is free!

Downtown Bellevue Park


This park is also located close to Bellevue Square Mall. The 20 acre park is a great place to have a picnic, play frisbee, enjoy the sun, and much more!

During the 4th of July (Independence Day) the park is full of people enjoying food from food trucks and sweet lemonade. In the evening the Bellevue Youth Symphony Orchestra plays music while fireworks are set off.

Bellevue Botanical Garden


With 53 acres of land, the Bellevue Botanical Garden is a must-see. There is the Fuchsia Garden, the Native Discovery Garden, the Waterwise Garden and much more! Admission is free and you can even go on a tour – a tour begins each Saturday and Sunday at 2PM.

During the winter time the Botanical Garden hosts the Garden d’Lights. At the end of each year the garden lights up and creates lovely sights to see. While tickets are usually $5, there are some nights that are free! See here for more information.



All About Halloween

Halloween is celebrated in America every year on October 31. 

This is a fun holiday that is celebrated by people of all ages! It is typical  to dress up. People will dress up as witches, princesses, superheroes and more!


IELP Students dress up for the Mid Quarter Costume Party!

Little kids will dress up and walk around the neighborhood trick-or -treating. Trick-or-treating is when you ring on people’s doorbells and say trick-or-treat to receive candy.


There are many Halloween themed parties complete with pumpkins, skeletons, witches and black cats.


Many people carve pumpkins. At night, people will put candles in them. These are called Jack-O’-Lanterns. Sometime you will see them in front of people’s houses at night – there are even pumpkin carving contests! Many people will make funny faces, scary faces, or even realistic faces on the pumpkins!

halloween-hero-1-aHappy Halloween!

Visit “The Ave”

The Ave (although officially titled University Way) is a major street in University District. It has all sorts of places to eat and shop!

University Book Store


The University Book Store has all sorts of University of Washington gear such as hats, clothing, water bottles etc. They also have a large number of textbooks for students and regular books! Be sure to check it out when you have time!

The University Book Store has locations in Seattle, Bellevue, Bothell, Tacoma, Mill Creek and in the HUB!

Visit their website here

Cafe Solstice


While Starbucks is incredibly popular in Seattle there are many other cafes on the Ave to visit! Cafe Solstice is one of them. It is located right next to Shultzy’s a hot dog and burger place.

University District Farmers’ Market


Open year round on Saturdays, the University District Farmers’ Market is a great way to get locally grown food! It is located on “the Ave” (University Way) and between 50th and 52nd street. Find out more about the U District Farmers’ Market and special events here!

Although not technically located on “The Ave” these places are some that you must visit!

Portage Bay Cafe


Portage Bay Cafe is a super popular place to go for brunch. It has great, delicious food and a breakfast bar! Make sure to make a reservation before you go to make sure you won’t have to wait too long for a table.

Visit their website here

Guacano’s Tacos Pupuseria


A pupusa is a traditional Salvadoran dish which is made from a corn tortilla with ingredients in the middle. This Salvadoran restaurant makes great food that is also affordable. Make sure to visit!

Visit their website here


Visit Fremont

Known also as the “Center of the Universe” Fremont is a quirky neighborhood with much to see!

According to legend, in 1991 Fremont was determined to be the Center of the Universe. Following this discovery the Center of the Universe Guidepost was erected and can now be found in Fremont! Make sure to check it out! Learn more here.

Make sure to visit:

Fremont Troll


IELP Students visited the troll on a trip to Fremont

In 1989 a national competition took place to create something fun underneath the Aurora bridge. A design for a troll underneath the bridge won! Nowadays this is a fun place to visit, during Halloween a birthday party called “Troll-o-ween” is thrown for the Fremont Troll. Visit here for more information!

Other statues to visit are:

Lenin Statue: This statue was originally located in Poprad, Slovakia; however after the 1989 Revolution an American Veteran brought it back to Issaquah with him. Right behind the statue is a ice cream shop. Read more about the Lenin statue here.


STEP Students visit the Lenin Statue

Waiting for the Interurban: This is an interactive sculpture. People will put shirts on the waiting figures and display “art attacks”. Read more here and learn the rules to participating in an “art attack” of your own.


Waiting for the Interurban can often be found decorated

Fremont Sunday Market


The Fremont Sunday Market is a great place to visit, rain or shine!

Both an indoor and an outdoor market, the Fremont Sunday Market is a great place to visit! You can find some great street food, vintage goods, art, and more!


IELP students pose in front of the Fremont Sunday Market Sign

Theo Chocolate Factory


IELP Students munch on samples at Theo Chocolate

Near the Fremont Sunday Market is Seattle’s local chocolate factory. You can even take a tour of the factory! Visit here to learn more about going on a tour. After the tour you can visit the store at 3400 Phinney Avenue North and try some free samples.

Your Friday Readings: Part 6

This is the last segment of Your Friday Readings. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed it!

Last Spring, students in Independent Writing (INDW 150) had to write a final persuasive essay to demonstrate their acquired skills in the class. The prompt was: Imagine that you work for the department of education in your country. You are assigned with selecting English schools abroad in which students could study. Would you have them choose IELP at the UW in Seattle? Why or why not? Try to persuade your reader.

This essay was written by Jia Song

Nowadays, English schools abroad have been known by Chinese people because both educational institutes and parents are willing to send students abroad to practice English. The quality of the English schools concerns school officials and parents, so the department of education investigates several English schools abroad. The IELP at the UW in Seattle is qualified for students to learn English because the IELP English Program has a variety of courses, responsible instructors, and intensive class schedule.

Initially, the IELP English Program possess a variety of courses which can be freely chosen by students. The IELP English Program have numerous academic courses. For example, the ARW 5 course teachers students how to write academic papers when they go to the US university. Researching academic sources and citing these sources by using APA style are the most important skills in the ARW 5 course. These two skills are widely applied in the US university, so the ARW 5 course is a good preparation for attending the US university. Moreover, the IELP English Program offers cultural courses in which students can understand American culture. These cultural courses are instrumental for students to practice English in living situation.

Additionally, the IELP English Program have responsible instructors. At the beginning of one quarter, the instructors will give students syllabus which can tell students the outline of the class, so that the students can have general ideas about the class. Furthermore, the instructors will ask what students want to study, so the instructors can teach this knowledge and skills in later classes.

Lastly, the IELP English Program has intensive class schedule. Intensive class schedule can give students more time to study in spare time. For instance, the class schedule that one student has just occupied 5 hours a day, so she does not need to go to school on the entire day.

The classrooms of the IELP English Program are distant, so students have to walk a long way to reach the classroom. However walking is good exercise for students without spending money and time going to the gym.

In conclusion, the IELP English Program is a qualified English school to choose because it possess various courses, responsible instructors, and intensive class schedule. Students who would like to practice and study English should attend the IELP English Program. After attending this program, they will benefit a great deal in the future.

Your Friday Readings: Part 5

For the next two weeks on Fridays, small essays written by IELP students will be posted!

Last Spring, students in Independent Writing (INDW 150) had to write a final persuasive essay to demonstrate their acquired skills in the class. The prompt was: Imagine that you work for the department of education in your country. You are assigned with selecting English schools abroad in which students could study. Would you have them choose IELP at the UW in Seattle? Why or why not? Try to persuade your reader.

Several students wrote amazing essays. Check back next week for another awesome essay.

This essay was written by an IEP student

I would recommend students who need improving their language skills to study in the IELP program, if I have to choose one of these programs for them. The reason why I prefer this program is because of its environment, its teachers, and its location.

I have been studying in IELP for over one year. I think the overall studying atmosphere here is very good. The interactions between students and teachers are efficient. Although the program is very intensive, I got a big improvement of my TOEFL test. Before I started IELP here, I only got 84 out of 120 in TOEFL with low scores in speaking and writing parts. However, now I get 93 out of 120 in TOEFL. What is more, my speaking and writing abilities are also improved.

Teachers in this program are also very good. All the teachers here have a master’s degree, some of them are doctors. Therefore, they are professional in the area of teaching English for people who are not from English speaking countries. What is more, teachers here are always willing to answer students’ questions, very kind and patient.

I always believe that the best way to learn a foreign language is living in the country which speaks that language. Seattle is a big international city, people here are open minded. Therefore, students will have more opportunities to communicate with native speakers and practice their English a lot comparing to some English institutions in China. Although they all guarantee to improve students’ English tests’ scores in a short time, I do not thing this is the best way to learn English.

In conclusion, if you want to study the most original English in the United States, you should choose IELP at UW, Seattle.

Your Friday Readings: Part 4

For the next three weeks on Fridays, small essays written by IELP students will be posted!

Last Spring, students in Independent Writing (INDW 150) had to write a final persuasive essay to demonstrate their acquired skills in the class. The prompt was: Imagine that you work for the department of education in your country. You are assigned with selecting English schools abroad in which students could study. Would you have them choose IELP at the UW in Seattle? Why or why not? Try to persuade your reader.

Several students wrote amazing essays. Check back next week for another awesome essay.

This essay was written by Alfie

Recently, parents tend to send their children to the US to study in order to get a better job in their future. However, choosing a city to go to study is the most important thing to consider because they have to think about many aspects such as schools, transportation, and convenience of living. In my opinion, I suggest students to choose the IELP at the UW for some reasons.

First, if students study at the UW they can take a direct flight from Taiwan, and it makes students have a round trip easily. Moreover, changing planes is an annoying thing for everyone, it takes time and students might feel tired when they have to fly from time to time. Thus, studying at the UW is a better choice for Taiwanese; they don’t have to waste time on changing planes.

Secondly, Seattle is a safe city; it doesn’t have any sever disasters such as earthquakes, tornados, and blizzards. Moreover, the crime rate in Seattle is lower than other big cities. Thus, if students study at the UW, parents don’t have to worry about if they will meet any dangerous situations.

Finally, in Seattle, there is no place that people can communicate by Chinese. Unlike Vancouver or LA, people can always speak Chinese in some places in those cities. Therefore, if students live in Seattle, their English will improve a lot in a short period.

In conclusion, studying English at the UW has many benefits. You don’t have to waste time on changing flights and Seattle is a safe city. The most important thing is that students must speak English all the time. It is the best way to learn a second language. Thus, I suggest students to choose the IELP at the UW, and it is the best choice for every Taiwanese.