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Experience Study Abroad

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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.

Louis’s unforgettable study abroad experience

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My name is Louis-Marie Poisson. I am French. I am 18 years old and have had the possibility to integrate into TLC for a semester from the beginning of August to the end of November 2018. After I graduated from high school, I did not know what school to go to. One day in February, I received in the mailbox a brochure about a program called GoCampus from the company called Calvin Thomas. This program permits you to study abroad for several months. A few days after that, my parents and I decided that I was going to do it while I had a gap year. A couple of months later, I registered to join the program. The choice included 5 universities in different states located in different parts of the USA. We chose the University of Central Oklahoma (UCO), which is located in Edmond, 20 minutes away from Oklahoma City. There began an unforgettable four-month-long-trip in the USA.

For Intensive Program students, school days are 5 hours long and divided in 2 parts: 3 instructional hours in the morning for Listening, Speaking, Grammar, with 10 minutes break between each class, and 1 hour to eat lunch. The day finishes with 2 hours of study in Reading and Writing until 3:30 pm. TLC specializes in training their students to be able to enter into partner universities. TLC-Edmond’s Host Campus is University of Central Oklahoma.

 

What is great in TLC is that you can always talk to the staff about anything, just talking or if you have some issues. Sometimes, teachers take their students to go on some trips or activities they organize, so we have been cooking at Ashlee’s or visiting Andrew’s greenhouse. Teachers are not the only one to prepare some activities; TLC Edmond allows students to go to the zoo, go bowling or go to the movie theater and a lot of discovery places such as the science museum or the Braum’s factory (a delicious Oklahoman ice cream making company).

TLC often welcomes people from different organizations, businesses, or churches to allow us to practice speaking and discover and try the American way of life while participating in some activities with them such as being welcomed for Thanksgiving. People are great, they welcome everyone.

Life in the International House is a unique experience. While I was living there, I always met some new people. Just don’t be afraid of going to people and talk to them. It won’t hurt, and you never get something without trying. It is hard at the beginning.  You may be embarrassed or feel ridiculous, but it doesn’t matter: It is fun! They may not speak English as well as a native like you and they can make some mistakes. It is always good; we can help each other.

For many, it is just a big family or at least community, composed of students like you. Everyone is different from each other and people just wait for you to know them. One of the most outstanding parts is the multitude of languages you can hear, in the student apartments and collective places just as well on the campus. If you talk to a stranger, he or she will become one of your best friends. You make the choice to make a normal trip or an amazing one. I am glad to have met most of the people living there.

This adventure has been wonderful. Everything I have been talking about, I have lived it, and I will not forget it. We are lucky to be able to travel on the other side of the world to learn, to improve, and to surpass ourselves in English. Even if you are struggling or having big issues, when the time to leave comes, you realize that you are lucky and that is a great feeling. I remember meeting people one day and just figuring out a few hours later that I am cooking with them or playing soccer, or it is so late in the morning and you just have been talking with them.

As I said at the beginning, I don’t know where I am going, but what I am sure of is that this journey has been one of the best and longest abroad. It did not just help me to become more mature by depending on myself, but also allowed me to become more open-minded.

Studying Abroad With TLC: Youhei’s Story TLC 語学留学:陽平の留学物語

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Interview by Risa Okayama, TLC Alumni and Intern

Risa is completing her degree in Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A) at TLC Host Campus, University of Central Oklahoma

Hello! I’m Risa Okayama from Japan. I’m a former TLC student and gladly, I’m doing an internship with TLC. I had an opportunity to have an interview with a former, Japanese, TLC student, Youhei Shimozaki. He was studying English at TLC a few years ago and he’s a graduate student now! He wants to share his experience at TLC with you. If you’re thinking about studying abroad, please don’t miss the opportunity!

こんにちは!日本出身の岡山理沙と申します。私は以前TLC(オクラホマ州エドモンド)の生徒でしたが、今はTLCでインターンシップをさせてもらっています。私と同じように数年前TLCの生徒で、今大学院生の下崎陽平さんにTLC(オクラホマ州エドモンド)での経験についてインタビューさせて頂きました!もし海外留学を考えているならば、この留学の生の声を聞ける機会をお見逃しなく!

Q&A for Youhei, a former TLC student

Q1: Why did you decide to study abroad in America?

A1: There is a program to be an athletic trainer that I’m interested in at UCO’s master so that’s why I chose TLC. UCO is TLC’s host campus.

Q1: アメリカ留学しようと思ったきっかけは?

A1: 夢であるATC(アスレチックトレーナー)になるため。

Q2: What are three things that you like about Oklahoma and Edmond

A2: Safe, clean, peaceful

Q2: エドモンドの好きなところを3つ教えてください

A2: 安全、綺麗、静か

Q3: Could you explain a little about your experience with your American homestay?

A3: They are warm-hearted people, sweet and good at cooking.

Q3: ホームステイはどんな人たちですか?

A3: とても暖かく、料理も美味しく、優しい、いい方々でした。

Q4: What do you think about TLC’s teachers?

A4: All teachers were nice and kind. Also, it is good that teachers are different by the level. I learned more about knowledge at the high level and teachers gave me motivation for studying when I was at the low level.

Q4: TLCの先生についてどうおもいますか?

A4: 先生は熱心で優しく、わかりやすく教えてくれます。クラスのレベルにより先生が違うのは良いことだと思います。上位のレベルのクラス先生がたには多くの知識を学び、下位のクラスの先生には学ぶモチベーションを与えてもらったと思います。

Q5: Where were your classmates from?

A5: Vietnam, China, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Columbia, and Portugal.

Q5: クラスメートはどこの国出身ですか?

A5: 主に韓国、ベトナム、中国で他に少数派としてサウジアラビア、ポルトガル、コロンビアです。

Q6: What’s your main source of transportation in Edmond?

A6: When I was with a homestay, it was a car and a bicycle. (I just recommend you use the bicycle around UCO campus)

Q6: 主な交通手段は?

A6:  ホームステイ先の送り迎えと自転車です。(大学周辺以外での自転車はオススメしません)

Q7: What were you most surprised when you came to America?

A7: Refill service at a restaurant and paying with a credit card for splitting the check

Q7: アメリカに来て一番驚いたことは?

A7: 飲食店でのリフィルサービスとクレジットカードでの割り勘

Q8: What are three big differences between America and Japan?

A8: I learned the importance of telling my feeling and appreciation directly to people

Q8: カルチャーショックはありましたか?あったとしたらどんなことでしたか?

A8: 日本よりも家族を大切にすることをダイレクトに表すことで、感謝や自分の気持ちをちゃんと口に出す大切さを知れました。

Q9: Have you eaten any “American food”?

A9: I have. I’ve eaten Mexican food, Tacos, and Nachos, which I hardly can find it in Japan.

Q9: 日本でいうようなアメリカンフードは食べましたか?

A9: 基本、いろんなもん食べてます。日本であまり食べないもので食べてるのはタコスやナチョスなどのメキシカン料理です。

Q10: What was your English level when you arrived at U.S.?

A10: My score was 48 for TOEFL-PBT and 550 for TOEIC. These scores were same as around a level 6 of TLC. I wasn’t good at speaking at all.

Q10: アメリカに来た当初の英語のレベルは?

A10: TOEFL-PBTが48、TOEIC550くらいだったはずです。ほとんど喋れてないです。

Q11: What’s the difference between American English education and Japanese English education?

A11: A grammar class is easy in U.S. However, listening and writing are the hardest parts. U.S. English education is more focused on writing and grammar. To improve listening and writing skills, it is important to talk with American friends outside of a class.

Q11: アメリカと日本の英語教育の違いは?

A11: アメリカでの文法の授業は本当に簡単です。ただしリスニングやライティングは日本で相当やってなければかなりキツく、スピーキングはまず無理です。ただし、アメリカでは文法とライティングを叩き込まれるので、しっかり授業外でネイティブの学生や友人と話すことが大切です。

Q12: What is the best thing of TLC?

A12: They offer specialized classes of TOEFL and IELTS at TLC and their teachers are excellent. Also, teachers made time for answering my questions and practicing interviewing with me so, they were really flexible.

Q12: TLCのベストな事は?

A12: TOEFLとIELTSに特化したクラスがあり、その先生が非常に優秀です。またクラス外での質問や放課後にクラスを開いてもらったり、面接のために個人のクラスを作ってもらったりと非常に融通が効きました。

Q13: Do you recommend TLC? If so, why? Or if not, why not?

A13: I recommend Japanese to come to TLC because there are many kind and dedicated teachers.

Q13: TLCを留学を考えている日本人におすすめしますか?

A13: 優しい先生に熱心な先生が多くオススメです。

It is important to note that Oklahoma education accredidation requires international students to meet at least a minimum TOEFL score and complete at least 12 weeks of English practice in the upper levels of TLC’s program. It is recommended to finish level 9 at TLC and if doing Graduate studies, to complete APL. Many of TLC’s other partner schools will accept completion of TLC’s level 9 Intensive Program or Business English Program in place of a TOEFL score. If you have any additional questions about TLC’s university partners or studying abroad with The Language Company, please let us know by emailing info@thelanguagecompany.com. Share your academic goals with TLC before you even arrive and we will help to counsel you to prepare for the most appropriate academic path.

オクラホマ教育認定協会は留学生に対して最低限のTOEFLスコア取得とTLCの上位レベルにあたるレベル7~9を12週間に渡って受ける事が必要とされています。TLCのレベル9を修了する事をお薦めするのと、もし大学院に進むのであれば、APLも修了する事をお薦めします。多くのTLCの提携校は、TLCレベル9のインテンシブプログラムビジネス英語プログラムTOEFLのスコアの代わりに受け入れています。もしTLCの大学提携校TLCでの海外留学について追加の質問がございましたら、こちらのメールアドレス(info@thelanguagecompany.com.)にて質問をお受け致します。アメリカに来る前でも自分にあった学習方法の準備やカウンセリングを承るので、英語学習の目標をTLCとぜひシェアして下さい!

陽平さんは同じアスレチックトレーナーを目指す友人達と留学を目指す学生のためにブログを書いているそうなので、陽平さんの事をもっと知りたい方は、こちらのリンクからブログにアクセスして見て下さい。

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