Coming to America: Study abroad students come to Kingsville for American experience

Coming to America: Study abroad students come to Kingsville for American experience

Left to right: Lucas Ribeiro and Marbel Salazar are just two of approximately 50 students that came to TAMUK to further their English speaking skills. Photo by Dasheen Ellis

Marbel Salazar and Lucas Ribeiro find themselves far from the warm tropics of Brazil and mountains of Mexico on their quest to master the English language. They chose to do it here at Texas A&M University-Kingsville (TAMUK).

The English Language Training Center, located in Cousins Hall at TAMUK is a program that was developed to train international students in the English language to a level that will allow them to successfully enter and complete a college degree program.

The program provides services to students from different countries. Michelle Butler, Facilitator of Marketing and recruitment has been with the program for four semesters.

“There are just under 50 students in the program: we currently have students from China, India, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Iran, Brazil and Ecuador, but we are always looking to expand and diversify,” Butler said.

The program at TAMUK has provided new opportunities for the (study abroad) students, Butler said.

“More of the students who are entering the program are interested in pursuing an academic career in either our graduate or under-graduate programs here at TAMUK,” Butler said.

For the students, there is more to being in Kingsville than learning the English language. Ribeiro, a Belo Horizonte/ MG, Brazil native is an information systems major says that life in the United States is different than life in Brazil.

“I really like Brazilian food, the rice, beans and steak but all we have here is pizza. I’ve tried the Mexican food and I like some of it, but it is too spicy and I don’t like spicy food,” Ribeiro said.

Marbel Salazar, a 17-yearold native of Monterrey, NL, Mexico has entered her first semester in the program and hopes to study international business she said.

“I love my home in Mexico but here I live

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with my aunt so I get to have Mexican food. Here in Kingsville it is very quiet and in my home it is very noisy, and there are always people, so it’s a change but a good change,” Salazar said.

One of the goals of the program is to expose the students to an English speaking environment to help them grasp the language, so they are encouraged to interact and socialize with the native English speakers on the campus.

“I have made some American friends, they like Brazilians. That is helping me learn more and be more confident in my English,” Ribeio said.

“The program really helps with how we talk, the grammar and how we listen. I am much better at listening and understanding English then speaking but I am getting better,” Salazar said.

The program was designed to help these students hone their English speaking skills in order to help them progress in a college degree program, and also to advance in their professional careers Butler said.