By Hon Tak Wong
CCC Journalism Program
BLACKWOOD – Camden County College provides an English as a Second Language program for international students to learn English before they move to their regular major courses. The English language training program is for United States residents who are non-native speakers and for students from around the world.
Despite taking the ESL program, some international students said they felt difficulty when they moved to their major program because English was not their native language and they knew of no facility or international club to help them.
“When we are studying ESL course, teachers would speak very slow and clear to help us to understand, but after I moved to the regular course, they speak very fast and unclear. In ESL class, we speak in formal English; however, the professor and local students speak with a lot of slangs. Even I passed the ESL course, there is still a very big gap between the ESL course and regular course,” said international student Hui Sun.
He said he thought the ESL program taught him very basic English and it could help him to know a new language in less than two years.
“By the way, I couldn’t find any facility and organization for the international student to find some help,” he said.
However, some international students said they did not feel this way. They said they thought it was normal for international students to have more challenges than local students but they must get rid of those troubles.
“It was a tough time in the first semester of the regular course, but I’m very good now,” said international student Gregorio Prazeres.
He said he went to the tutoring center often in his first semester.
“Tutoring center can help the international student a lot and it’s free. English is not our native language, working harder is our responsibility,” he said.
He also recommended international students and even local students join the international student club called World Culture Club.
“A lot of international students don’t know we have this club,” he said.
“We absolutely have an international club for ESL students. Students should be more active to join the club and club events. It’s a very great chance for international students to know each other,” said Lani Nguyen, coordinator of international services. “Most of the international students work so much harder than local students because they know English is not their native language. So they worry, they care. Then they always can solve the problem. There are a lot of troubles that international students should face, but they can’t avoid the responsibility, they must deal with those difficulties. If they need help, we are always here — tutoring center, international student office, the international student club, and they can also find their professors.”
The World Culture Club holds several events each semester. This semester it will conduct bus trips from the Blackwood campus to Washington, D.C. on March 31 and New York City on April 29.