International students learning better English

October 16, 2015 Latest, News Print Print

Many of OCCC’s international students don’t speak English fluently, said Tonja Nelson, Communication Lab assistant. This can cause them some problems interacting with other students.

“The international students often keep to themselves, even in the classroom,” Nelson said.

This is where English as a Second Language conversation group comes in. Better known around the school as ESL, the conversation group allows students who do not speak English well to practice speaking English together.

There are two conversation groups a week, from 10 to 10:50 a.m. on Mondays and from 12:30 to 2 p.m. Thursdays.

There are about 500 international students currently enrolled at OCCC, according to the international admissions department.

Nelson said the ESL conversation group has helped hundreds of international students who have made their way through OCCC.

Thuong Ngo, who is from Vietnam, said she attended the conversation groups for two years.

“I think I have improved a lot,” she said. “Lydia Rucker and the other leaders helped me improve my pronunciation. We have fun times with the games and activities. It helps perfect my English.”

ESL conversation group is a free program; however, students wishing to attend must enroll, Nelson said. Classes are set at the student’s pace and there is plenty of one-on-one work from instructors.

“We have many students who have gone through the program, who return to help teach and connect with the new students,” Nelson said. “They are a big help to the program.”

If you are interested in becoming involved with the ESL conversation group, contact Nelson in the Communications Lab located near the OCCC Bookstore. She can be reached by phone at 405-682-1611, ext. 7150, and by email at

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