Wesleyan staff members work together at their desk in their newly renovated office on the first floor of Stella Hall. (Lupe Salas/Rambler Staff)

Wesleyan staff members work together at their desk in their newly renovated office on the first floor of Stella Hall. (Lupe Salas/Rambler Staff)

Over the Christmas break, one of Texas Wesleyan’s older dorms, Stella, received a makeover.

The first floor of the residence hall has been transformed into offices and classrooms for a new program at Texas Wesleyan. Wesleyan partners with The Language Company, and is the host university for the Dallas/Fort Worth area. As a host university for The Language Company, Texas Wesleyan has to meet certain requirements.

Sharon Manson, director of residence life said, “The Language Company requires we provide them with office space and classrooms.”

Manson said since Wesleyan is limited on room, the best place to put these new additions is the newly altered first floor of Stella.

Demetrius Hicks, director of admissions for The Language Company at Texas Wesleyan, said  The Language Company is a program where international students can live on campus and are taught English as a second language in order to become eligible to attend a university in the United States.

Hicks said instead of semesters, The Language Company works on sessions. One session is four weeks long, which is about a month for each session. Hicks said the students in this program must prove they know a certain amount of English to pass each session.

Hicks said there are 13 sessions per year. The number of sessions each student takes varies based on the placement tests taken before beginning classes. This test tells each student what level in the program he or she will start.

“So if a student arrives that has good English, they might be like level five or six, or something like that,” Hicks said. “If they know no English, they will start at foundations. Other than the foundations class, there are nine other levels.”

Hicks said after a student passes all nine sessions, they can take more sessions if they wish.  In order to go to a university, a student must be capable of passing the TOEFL Test which measures English competency level. This test is usually passed after nine sessions.

Some of the students here will go to Texas Wesleyan, but others may go to other universities around the United States.

Although most students eventually want to attend a university, some just want to learn English for fun, Hicks said.

“We have students who sometimes study just because they want to learn

English, or students from other countries who are on vacation in America and just want to learn English and get immersed in the culture,” Hicks said.

Although there are students from all around the world, most of the students hosted by Texas Wesleyan for The Language Company right now are from Saudi Arabia, Hicks said.

Jonathan Bravo, a freshman baseball player who lives in Stella, said he has noticed a few changes in the environment of Stella since The Learning Company has started holding classes.

“There are a lot more international students and teachers walking around,” Bravo said.

He also said there are more people in general inside Stella during the day because of the added students learning in the classrooms. Also, during their breaks, the students hang out in the Stella lobby.

Hicks said so far The Learning Company and Texas Wesleyan’s partnership is working. If the program and involvement at Wesleyan continues to grow, it will help enroll more students in the future at Texas Wesleyan University and other universities around the country.

“Our involvement is growing steadily even from when I started up a month ago,” Hicks said. “I see a big increase in the students we expected to come in as well as the students who started new this session.”