The ELP has resumed in-person classes in our Intensive Program. Learn more here.

Life at Penn

Counseling Services • Gym Facilities and Sports Teams • International Student Services • Libraries • Penn ID Card • Penn Student Clubs • Public Safety • Religious Resources • Student Health Services

Counseling Services

There are many resources to stay healthy and well during your time at Penn. If you are feeling overwhelmed by stress, cultural adjustment, homesickness, or any other issues, you can make an appointment with Penn’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). The service is confidential and free. Professional counselors will help you deal with any issues you want to discuss.

Gym Facilities and Sports Teams 

You can access Penn’s modern gym and other sports facilities such as pool, sauna, basketball courts, climbing wall, squash courts, tennis courts, golf simulator, and group class studios. The gym requires an additional fee; however, you can sign up for a gym membership at an ELP student rate. Rates will vary by sign-up date.
You can also participate in organized sports. Organized sports teams (called intramural or club sports) occur at different times during the academic year. There are options for many types of sports and skill levels.

International Student Services 

You can receive advice about immigration, employment, and overseas travel regulations at the International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) office. ISSS staff also assist with problems related to social and personal adjustments to a new culture, as well as practical matters related to living in Philadelphia.
The ISSS website provides useful information about immigration matters that apply to ELP students.


You will have access to Penn’s libraries and will be able to borrow books using your PennCard. There are many libraries on campus, but some are restricted to certain schools at Penn. Van Pelt Library, the main campus library, is open to ELP students and is located very close to ELP classrooms. At the beginning of every ELP session there is a library orientation that all students are welcome to attend. At the library orientation, a librarian will guide students through the library facilities and library research techniques.

Penn ID Card

As an ELP student, you will receive a Penn identification card (PennCard) that allows you to use Penn's academic and recreational facilities or services such as: 15 libraries, Penn museums, computer labs, digital language laboratory, campus bus service and walking escort service, and gymnasiums. You will also be able to use your student ID card to get discounts at local museums, movie theaters, performing arts events, and other cultural attractions.

Penn Student Clubs

Penn students are involved in over 600 clubs and organizations, such as the Tai Kwon Do Club, Thai Students Association, and Penn Cycling Club. As an ELP student, you will be able to join many of these clubs.

ELP staff can help you learn more about how to get involved in student organizations on campus.

Public Safety

Living in any large city will require you to be alert and street smart. However, Penn values security and ensures that you have access to many campus safety resources. Penn has been ranked as the best in campus safety and security for nine years in a row by Security Magazine. Penn Police officers can be seen around campus, and you may ask for their help.  You can also call the Penn Police by picking up any emergency telephone on campus. If you do not feel safe walking alone at night, you may call Penn’s Walking Escort Service. Although Penn is located in a big city, there are many resources available to you to make sure you feel comfortable and safe at Penn.

Religious Resources

Philadelphia is home to people of many religious backgrounds and it is easy to connect with a religious organization, if you wish. You can find many different worship sites listed on the Office of the Chaplain and the Spiritual and Religious Life Center’s website.

On campus, Penn’s Office of the Chaplain and the Spiritual and Religious Life Center welcomes students of all religious and spiritual beliefs. The Center includes space for prayer, study, interfaith activities, and student meetings.

There are also many students groups at Penn that support religious and spiritual life.

Student Health Services

During your stay at Penn, you will have access to the Student Health Services. You can go to Student Health Services for regular medical visits, sexual health visits, allergy shots, immunizations, and many other services. While the visit itself is covered, there may be a charge for any additional services.