UH Moment

UH Moment: “Language and Culture Center”

Talented international students who come to the UH in hopes of pursuing degrees in engineering, law, business, hospitality or other areas usually make room 116 of the Roy Cullen building their first stop on the road to success. They enroll in intensive English proficiency classes at the UH Language and Culture Center (LCC).

As director of the UH Language and Culture Center, Joy Tesh has seen students from around the world make the center’s non-credit English proficiency program their first stop to the rest of their academic career.    

Director Joy Tesh with one of the LCC's graduatesA graduate of the Langauge and Culture Center Program

“The excitement begins on the day of registration when students are coming in from Angola and Mali and China and Saudi Arabia and Mexico and Colombia,” she said. “They’re all wondering at what level of proficiency they’ll place.”

Celebrating its 35th year, the LCC has been the first stop for international students — many sponsored by their governments — to sharpen their English skills so that they can expertly research and write essays, study and take tests and become integrated onto an American university campus.

“We’re a wonderful bridge between the education system they are leaving and the education system they are entering,” said Tesh, who has been a part of the center for 30 years. All of the instructors have master’s degrees in English as a Second Language or Applied Linguistics as they teach the six levels of proficiency.

Graduates of the LCC's English proficiency programGraduates of the LCC’s English proficiency program

“We teach English as a second language, listening, speaking, reading and writing. We integrate into that pronunciation and grammar and all of the necessary components to prepare students linguistically and academically,” she said.  

In its 35 year history, more than 20,000 students have attended the program. Among them is Americo Santos who hails from Angola.  He’s hopeful, with the LCC’s help, of one day becoming a Cougar.

“When I first came here, I only knew basic things, almost nothing, about English. Right now, I feel like I am ready for something bigger because I have been learning a lot of stuff.”

The Language and Culture Center is part of what’s happening at the University of Houston. I’m Marisa Ramirez.

Telling the stories of the University of Houston, this UH Moment is brought to you by KUHF, listener supported radio from the University of Houston.