Frequently Asked Questions: Strategic Language Institute

What is the Strategic Language Institute?
Part of the Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs at Florida International University, the Strategic Language Institute offers non-credit, state-of-the-art, intensive, business language courses in US Government-designated critical languages. These are languages that are important to US national security as well as commercial relations and economic competitiveness.
The Strategic Language Institute offers a unique opportunity to develop professional language skills that are in great demand throughout the employment market, and essential as individuals and businesses compete in an increasingly globalized economy.

What are your language programs like?
SLI’s language programs are designed to move quickly through 4 modules, based on students’ level of performance in the language. Emphasis is on developing fluency, grammatical structure, and phonetics (pronunciation) in target language. Language for business purposes is the focus of the program in terms of vocabulary. Cross-cultural aspects of the language are also covered.

Module 1: Designed for those who have little or no training in the target language. Emphasis is placed on listening and speaking skills. Students will also acquire cross-cultural competency in the target language.

Module 2: Focuses on vocabulary related to personal routine, comparisons, business meetings, advancing in grammar and pronunciation skills.

Module 3: Offers the possibility of using multiple verb tenses in the production of conversation related to business functions and social situations.

Module 4: Consolidates grammar, vocabulary, practice, cultural aspects, and proposes a final project on a chosen business point, involving research and oral presentation.

Will I be certified in the language upon completion of the course?
Although a “Certificate of Completion” is given to students upon successful completion of each module, completing a course does not bestow any widely recognizable credential. There are a number of standardized language assessments one can take to certify one’s proficiency in a foreign language; for some examples please visit our Assessment and Examinations page.

How long is the course?
SLI offers 4 modules, each lasting for a period of 14-15 weeks. If taken consecutively, the entire program can be completed in less than a year-and-a-half. This can be even shorter if the student already has some knowledge of the language and is able to start at a more advanced level by taking a placement test.

I already know the language… Can I take a level 2 or 3 class?
If you already have some experience with the target language, you may schedule a free Placement Test here at SLI so the instructors can assess your proficiency level and decide in which module you should start. Placement tests are available by appointment, Tuesday – Thursday between 9:30 am and 5:30 pm. Please call 305-348-7222 or email sli@fiu.edu to schedule an appointment for the placement test.

Should I register before or after taking the placement exam?
It is recommended that you complete the placement test before you register for a class.

Why did I get placed in a lower level than I expected, when I speak the language?
If you had anticipated being placed in a higher level than you achieved, please keep in mind that the assessment places you in one of four levels, starting at module 1 (beginner proficiency, designed for students with no experience to rudimentary knowledge in the target language) through module 4 (advanced proficiency, able to communicate at a professional level despite some accent), so there is a lot of material that is covered in each level. Also, the assessment grades you in several proficiencies, including speech, written communication, vocabulary and grammar, and the instructor will place you based on your areas of need.

Will I receive credit for the class in my University?
The programs offered at the Strategic Language Institute are non-credit classes geared towards business and professional development, not towards advancement in an academic program. As a result, Financial Aid is not available for SLI language classes, neither is assistance with foreign student visas.

Is this an FIU language class?
SLI is an FIU program under the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) that offers non-credit language instruction to the general public. Although our classes are also open to FIU students, you do not have to be formally enrolled at FIU to register for SLI classes.

If I take level 1, can I wait to take level 2 later; or, do I have to take it soon after?
It is strongly suggested that you take the modules (1, 2, 3, and 4) consecutively to maximize your progress in the target language; however, sometimes other considerations may get in the way, so it is still possible to pick up again at a later time. Depending on how much time has ellapsed since you took your last course, it may be necessary to take a placement test.

Do you only offer group classes at FIU? In addition to our group classes, we offer the possibility of one-on-one instruction. Also, semi-private group classes can be arranged at your business; contact us for details and cost.

What is cost of the program?
The cost for group classes is $800.00 for each module, which includes the $200 non-refundable registration and processing fee, class tuition (40 contact hours), and additional materials provided by the instructor. Cost of the class textbook and on-campus parking is excluded.
Since SLI offers only non-credit language classes, Financial Aid does not apply.

Is the textbook Included?
Each student will be required to purchase the assigned textbook for the class; the cost is not included in the course fee. The title will be announced the week before class begins, and can be special ordered from the FIU bookstore, or purchased from your preferred bookseller. The book is mandatory for class.

Where are the classes held?
The program will be held remotely via Zoom. The instructor will provide the link to the recurring Zoom meetings prior to the first day of class. Students are responsible for having their own device (desktop computer, laptop, tablet or mobile device) with adequate audio/video capabilities and suitable internet connectivity to ensure they are able to fully participate in class.

What is the story with parking?
Parking and associated costs are the responsibility of the student. 30-day parking permits are available at a cost of $27 plus tax from FIU Parking and Transportation, located at MMC PG4 Market Station, 885 SW 109th Avenue, Miami, FL 33199 (Office Hours: Monday - Friday 8:00 am - 5:00 pm). Phone: (305) 348-3615; Email: parking@fiu.edu.
Metered parking is available in each of the parking garages around campus (please see Campus Map for locations), and can be purchased using the PayByPhone app or payment terminals on-site. Current FIU students, faculty and staff may purchase a parking permit online by visiting Permits.

Where do I apply/register?
To register, please visit https:/sli.fiu.eduregister/.