Learn about the various services and activities available to all Intensive English Program students.

Students in the Intensive English Program receive personal attention from the program’s staff. In addition, students are given suggestions for a variety of fun things to do in and around Houston, whether they have a few hours, a weekend or the break between sessions.

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Special services available to all Intensive English Program students include the following:

  • Orientation to the program, the Rice University campus and the city of Houston
  • A Rice University Student ID that allows the student access to campus activities, such as movies, sports and concerts, free or at a reduced rate, for a fee of $10 per seven-week session*
  • Access to the state-of-the-art Recreation Center for a fee of $70 per seven-week session* (For more information visit
  • Immigration counseling
  • Academic advising for college and university admissions
  • Student progress evaluation at the end of each session
  • Access to campus parking in assigned areas for $30 per seven-week session*
  • Student activities each session, including picnics, the rodeo, the circus, sports events such as professional baseball, basketball and soccer, and field trips to museums and other destinations

*These fees may be subject to increase.

Study Breaks

The Rice University Intensive English Program realizes you need a healthy balance between studying and having fun. We have suggestions of fun things to do in Houston if you have a couple of hours or a whole afternoon. On the weekend or during your break between sessions, you may want to take a day trip to the exciting attractions that are within a short drive from Houston.

Study Hard, But Don’t Forget To Have Fun!

Fun things to do in Houston:

[IMG Students at Houston Zoo]

Day trips within a short drive from Houston:

If you are thinking of applying to an American university, we have a number of tips to help make your search easier.

  • Plan ahead; start at least three to four months before you wish to enter the university, but 8 to 12 months is best
  • Look for schools that offer what you want to study at the level you desire (Undergraduate or graduate level?)
  • Learn more about the schools; check out school websites, look for information about international students, write or email the admissions office, visit the school and talk to alumni or others who know the university
  • Narrow the list of possibilities; you may want to limit the list to three or four schools: one that you are sure you can get into, one or two that are strong possibilities and one that may be more difficult to get into
  • Plan your university budget (Tuition, fees, room and board, books and supplies, computers, transportation, personal expenses)
  • Check to see if you are eligible for international scholarships and financial aid
  • Complete applications early and pay attention to deadlines (Be careful!); deadlines may be different for international students
  • Take required tests (e.g., TOEFL, IELTS, GRE, GMAT, SAT) in time for scores to be reported to the university
  • If you plan to transfer from a community college to a university, find out which courses will transfer

Students enjoy getting together after class to participate in a number of program-sponsored activities, such as Karaoke parties, barbecue luncheons and trips to the zoo and to sporting events. Below is a list of social activities our Intensive English Program students have enjoyed in past sessions.

Game Nights: Fun nights of board games, darts, ping pong and billiards are held across campus at the Rice Memorial Center.

Rockets Games: Students travel to the Toyota Center to watch Houston Rockets basketball, one of the many professional sporting events Houston offers.

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo: Students gussy up for a night at the Houston Rodeo. They enjoy the carnival and watch traditional rodeo events, followed by a concert by one of the many big-name musical talents that come every year to NRG Stadium.

Rice Baseball: Students can show their Rice pride by supporting the Rice Owls at a home game.

Houston Zoo: A staple on our social calendar, students get a taste of the wilder side of Houston at the Houston Zoo, located just across the street from the Rice campus.

Pizza Parties: Students gather with teachers and friends at these fun events held at the Glasscock School of Continuing Studies.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus: A favorite for all ages and backgrounds, students often attend “The Greatest Show on Earth” with their entire families. The Intensive English Program hasn’t missed a show in over 15 years. From lions and tigers to clowns and trapeze artists, The Ringling Bros. show offers traditional circus fun!

Ice Cream Socials: In another ESL favorite, students beat the heat with frozen treats at the Glasscock School of Continuing Studies.

Karaoke Parties at Willy’s Pub: Students get their groove on and show off their golden voices and dance moves at the party of the year in the basement of the Rice Memorial Center.

Thanksgiving Luncheon: Every November, students and teachers come together to celebrate all that we are thankful for by enjoying a traditional Thanksgiving dinner complete with turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce and, of course, pumpkin pie!

Intensive English Program students have also enjoyed Dynamo soccer games, Rice football and Halloween parties