Student Salutes

Study Abroad Experience

Diego is a former TLC student who is from Panama. He came to the United States in April of 2018 through a government-sponsored study abroad program. In this program experience, those chosen students had the opportunity to study four months of English with The Language Company-Edmond and one semester in select fields of study at TLC Host University, University of Central Oklahoma. He shared his great experience with TLC, UCO, and life in the United States.

I studied in the Intensive English Program for two months at TLC and switched to Advance Proficiency Level for the last two months of study with The Language Company. TLC’s average class size is around 10, so it is easier for me to get to know teachers and other international students. Especially, meeting my favorite English teacher, Andrew, every day was so much fun. Other than teachers from my classrooms, Nauzi, who is a part of TLC-Edmond’s administration staff, always encouraged me to practice English. That made not only me, but also other Panamanian students realize that we have to speak English repeatedly in order to improve. Because of these great teachers and staff, I felt comfortable with TLC Edmond’s atmosphere. There was no pressure to be perfect in English, just encouragement and support to improve. In addition, I really enjoyed TLC’s activities such as Board games and Karaoke parties. Through activities, I was able to meet new people and practice my English .

After four months studying at TLC, my UCO classes started. I usually woke up around 8:30 AM and ate breakfast. After eating breakfast, I went to my classroom by 9 AM and I usually stayed at UCO until 5 PM. When I was in Panama, I used to go to my university from 7 AM and had classes until 12 PM. After classes, I stayed at the library to study around 6 PM. Therefore, there is no big difference in my class schedule. My favorite class was Fundamentals of Speech. My professor, Ms. Carter, always joked around and I had so much fun. It did not feel like a class.
However, there were a few things that I felt completely different from what I was used to. For instance, enrolling for classes is much easier here and I can do it without seeing my academic adviser. On the other hand, in Panama, I had to see my academic adviser and followed what she or he told me to take for a semester. Without seeing them, I will not be able to enroll for classes. However, with the American enrolling system, everyone can get opportunities to earn knowledge from classes that they are interested in learning. In American universities, academic advisers are available to provide guidance on which credits are needed for each department in order for students to complete their degrees. This is the culture shock that I have experienced. Moreover, the style of classes varies from class to class. I never had the same classmates from my other classes. You will meet new people in each class room.

While I was in the United States, I stayed at the place called “The International House.” That is an off-campus dormitory, and you will see many international students from all over the world. My roommates were Oscar from Panama, Makinori from Japan, and Shinyu from South Korea. Because I met a lot of international students, it made me see things in a bigger picture. Before coming to the United States, I used to think about only Panama, but now I do not. Seeing cultural differences definitely made me open-minded.

My advice for those who want to study English in the United States would be to not be afraid of speaking in English. I came to the United States with many other Panamanian students.  Yet, I tried to be with both international and American students as much as I could.

Through this journey, I became more responsible, independent, and money-conscious. I also noticed that the more you work, the more you will get in the outcome. After coming back to Panama, I will keep studying my major, software engineering, to get a software developer job. I hope I can come back to the United States someday.


Thank you to Educasa Panama, IFARHU, The Language Company, and UCO for giving us this wonderful journey!

For to see more study abroad experience, check out this YouTube video! (credits: Joseph Morales)

Why I chose homestay

Zhihao Jin’s Testimony

I have spent 3 weeks with my homestay family Michelle and Loren who are very nice people. There are some reasons why I chose homestay family instead of dorms and apartments.

1: Homestay family provides me transportation. It is very hard to move in Kirksville or the Midwest without a car, and most international students could not afford a car and it is very difficult for them to pass the driving license exam. Spending the money on a car or the time to pass the test, may not be reasonable even you are not planning to study in the U.S more than one year.

2: I could learn a lot of living experiences with homestay family. There are many differences in our daily life between USA and China. Homestay family teaches you how to use the washer and drier, also you directly learn how Americans live in their home.

3: I can participate in many activities with them, which would otherwise be hard for international students to try, like deer hunting, passing candies on Halloween, watch football and basketball in local high school, parade on street, etc. Foreign students may be hesitant to try any activities due to the language problems and bashfulness. However, homestay family will give encouragement to you to participate.

4: Practice speaking and listening skills, this is biggest reason for me to choose homestay. Actually, they are my best listening and speaking teachers. Indeed, sometimes it is hard to understand what they are talking about, but they will explain to me and correct my pronunciation.

5: I could feel that I live in my home. Michelle and Loren treat me as their own child, I don’t feel I am alone.


Thank you for sharing a wonderful testimony, Zhihao!

If you are interested in leaning English with an awesome homestay, click here to inquire about our program!

Experience Study Abroad

By Kassia Koshbaeva

“And these are for you,” said Mrs. Vinson handing me multiple boxes wrapped in beautiful wrapping paper. Standing next to her, Mr. Vinson was smiling. “But I don’t celebrate Christmas!” I said in a surprise as I was trying to remember whether I mentioned that fact earlier or not. “We know, but since you are spending the holiday season with us this year, we want to include you and make you feel welcome.” I knew that I would learn a lot about American culture which is so new and different to me, but I didn’t know that I would become part of it. I expected a lot of things from a study abroad program. However, I didn’t expect me to tear up because I was so touched by the American family that has “adopted” me.

Study abroad in the United States has changed my life in many ways. First of all, I was able to open up for change. It is difficult to stay stubborn, when you can not find the usual beetroot salad that was part of my daily diet back home. I had a positive, welcoming environment and a good overall cultural growth experience. Secondly, I was able to learn more about the culture for which I had so much prejudice. All I knew about United States was gathered from American movies (sometimes not best to represent this country). Thus, I was positively surprised and became part of many celebrations. Third, and most important, I was able to improve my English tremendously which opened up endless opportunities for me. I wanted a university with a good reputation that would positively affect my future career. Lastly, politics and economics played a big role in my choice of country. My family and I wanted stability in the government and economy of the country in which I planned to study.

More than 4.5 million higher education students participate in a study abroad program every year. That number has steadily increased over the past few decades. United States, France, and Germany have long been the top three countries receiving international students, with Australia and the United Kingdom more recently followed suit.

Among the countries where students come from, China particularly showed increase in number of students participating in study abroad program. More and more Chinese students are heading overseas to study. In fact, China continues to be one of the leading countries sending students to study abroad and this demand for overseas education remains strong. According to the report of the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China, approximately 608,400 Chinese students chose to pursue advanced studies overseas.

In my personal experience, choosing University of Central Oklahoma was based on multiple factors; one of which was low tuition cost. Universities in Midwest America tend to have lower tuition and fees compared to the universities in megapolis.

What if you are not so confident to study in an American university because of lack of English language proficiency? I have great news for you: a lot of universities in the United States offer language programs that will help you feel equipped with necessary academic and language skills to succeed. The Language Company was the first place to address my concerns regarding my English language skills. Located on UCO campus, The Language Company offers multiple programs that you can choose according to your needs. The Language Company is capable of providing you with official documentation that will allow you to apply for the student visa. Some students come to study English language only; others continue their study at a university in the US. Regardless of your goal, TLC will be able to accommodate you in one of the classes.

Experience at TLC is essential for many students who want to learn both the language and the culture. Since the company offers not only English classes but also many out of of the curriculum activities such as holiday celebrations and road trips. TLC provides you with the opportunity to choose your accommodation: whether it be on campus, off campus, or homestay with an American family. TLC has multicultural personnel, thus allowing them to respond to your questions and inquiries even if you email them in Chinese. Thus, you should not hesitate to contact us here at The Language Company to learn more about your future study abroad experience.

I, Kassia Koshbaeva, international English teacher at The Language Company, went through the same journey, and thus, I will be able to advise you on any questions and concerns throughout your journey.

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