ESL program helps international students achieve fluency in English

The main goal for the English as a Second Language bridge program is helping international students to reach the college English level and help them succeed at OCCC, said Abra Figueroa, who is the director of the program.

“This semester we have 27 international student in the program,” she said.

Chin-Chin Chuang is a previous ESL student who graduated into the bridge program in 2015.

He said more ESL students are from Asian countries, while fewer come from Europe.

”After I move to OCCC, I feel confident on my writing and reading,” Chuang said. “I feel ESL did make me ready for my college life.”

There have been a lot of international students from different countries getting in OCCC  by taking the English as Second Language bridge program.

In the main building there are a lot of flags hanging in the center of the building.

“Those flags, I believe, represent the students who come from different countries,” Figueroa said. “Not just for the English as a Second Language bridge program but also around the campus.”

The flags show the diversity of international students.

Because all of the students in the ESL bridge program are from different countries, the program offers field trips for the students every year.

Figueroa said one of the goals is to introduce international students to Oklahoma culture and heritage.

“International students who live in Oklahoma can have a richer experience learning about our history and learning something unique, like cowboy culture,” she said.

She said there are regional differences in the U.S. and students at OCCC should know about Oklahoma, not just American culture in general.

“The most important goal of the field trips is to give ESL students an opportunity to know English and speak English with people outside the classroom,” she said. It also gives the students a topic to talk about.

Chuang said, ”The field trip gives us an opportunity to know the Oklahoma culture so we can get into this big Oklahoma family.”

Even though all of the international students are from different countries, Figueroa said, it does not create a problem in the classroom.

“I think it is helpful because many times students share their culture and it makes interesting class discussion,” she said. “Students help each other cross cultural lines. I have seen many friendship form between students from different countries.

“They have the same goals. They want to achieve. They want to learn English, They want to succeed in school. So they help each other and work together. I don’t find any difficulty helping multicultural groups.”

Chuang said also sees benefit.

“Culture diffusion in ESL makes us know more about our culture and others’ culture, and this is good atmosphere for learning by encouraging each other.”

For more information about the ESL bridge program, contact Figueroa at

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