The Language Company on the Wesleyan campus has brought in many new faces from around the world on top of the international students already based in Texas.
One such student is Mathilde Rousselle, and she is from Thoard, France. She is not a typical Fort Worth Language Company student because there are not many from Europe at TLC. The Wesleyan office has most of the students coming from the Far East and Saudi nations
The Language Company has a complex job of helping international students speak English but go far beyond this as, according to the website thelanguagecompany.com, “provides a academic program that is carefully designed to help achieve your language learning goals and is a globally minded organization that provides English as a second language instruction and cultural opportunities to individuals who are seeking educational, professional and personal enrichment since 1983.”
They have 14 schools throughout the U.S with 12 of these based on university campuses along with three ongoing projects, one of which one will be in the Texas area. But since The Language Company signed with Texas Wesleyan two years ago, the campus and the company has seen much change by bringing in many interesting and different cultures to Texas.
The director of The Language Company Jerry Balding Jr. stated that instruction and learning potential are vital to academic success.
“Success is guaranteed as long as the students play their part,” he said.
The main purpose, according to Balding, is to “help students walk straight into a university setting and begin classes straight away.”
So after speaking to the director, it was important to understand the point of view of the students of The Language Company to see if they felt the program was a success.
The reason Rouselle choose to come to The Language Company in Fort Worth is an intriguing story because she stated with a smile on her face “that was a coincidence” that she came to the Wesleyan campus.
Her original choice was a university in Kentucky, but she had issues completing her high school diploma back in France. After two attempts she had to change her plans. She was fortunate to get accepted at the Texas Wesleyan English program, and she had an organization back at home help find her the school and she had to put together various items to make it happen.
“I needed to make a motivational letter, a CD and to take an interview via Skype in English” she said.
Those were to prove she spoke enough English to be entered for the program, and her very different lifestyle back in France caused some early challenges.
Her hometown village Thoard had only 723 people, and she claimed with slight laugher that she’s from “the best of France.
“It’s in the southeastern area, she said, “and is hidden within the small mountains there.”
Rousselle’s biggest pastime in France also is hanging out with friends by the lake and horse riding in the summer as there is a lack of entertainment venues in her village. She has a younger sister who is 18 years old, and they are very close.
“We have the same friends in the village,” Roussellle said, “and we are very good friends and of the same family.”
Her sister actually came to live in Houston last year to learn English and stayed with a family there for a while, and that helped Mathillde get a better insight into how Texas culture would be.
Before she came to Texas last September, she expected the usual stereotypes.
“I expected horses on the street, cowboys and rodeos,” she said and saw all these on a recent visit to Fort Worth’s famous Stockyards.
She was slightly disappointed, though, when she came to Wesleyan because she expected it to be like the movies.
But when she was picked up at the airport by her director, the first thing she was told was not leave the campus because it is not safe (area around campus).
That is not what she wanted to hear after being used to walking and cycling around her village freely. She also time she noticed there was a lack of some activities on campus and occasional public transportation problems. She found it difficult to travel places since she did not own a car..
“I got lucky because I have amazing friends here,” she said, “so even if we do stay on campus, we don’t get bored.”
She still enjoys learning at The Language Company with classes running from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. weekdays.
“The teachers are very good and try to do different things to help us learn,” she said.
The program has been so helpful that she would recommend it to her friends back at home and that the learning environment is much easier to learn in Fort Worth than back at home because she is required to speak English over her native language French.
Her plans after the TLC course concludes in April include visiting her sister’s home-stay family in Houston before spending two weeks in Miami, Fla., and two weeks in New York City before flying home in May.