Richland College is a very diverse campus with 79 different languages represented throughout the college. Everywhere around campus you can find a student from a different country and background; from Saudi Arabia, Colombia, Turkey, Vietnam and many other places around the world. Many times when a new student from another country comes to register at Richland they go to the Multicultural Center.
Nhan Lai, who works at the Multicultural Center as an admission specialist and department assistant, started at the Multicultural Center after she got her associate degree at Richland and transferred to the University of Texas at Dallas. She is now working on her bachelor’s degree.
As an admission specialist, she processes student applications and assigns them to advisers so they can get their visa from the United States Embassy. According to Nhan, students from more than 100 countries get help at the Multicultural Center to process their paperwork.
The Multicultural Center has two sections; English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), which is for permanent residents who speak English as a second language, and the American English and Culture Center (AECI), which is for students who study abroad and are from outside the United States. The ESOL and AECI are both programs that include international student specialists and academic advisers who help students learn English and get their college degrees. Both ESOL and AECI take students through five levels. The AECI program takes approximately two months to complete followed by a competency test. The ESOL program takes four months to complete.
The programs are separated by students in the AECI program who do not have residency and must take a minimum of 12 hours to maintain their visa. An AECI student who has completed level 3 will be able to take the TSI test. If they pass, they can move on to taking college level classes and get one step closer toward getting their degree. If students do not pass, they are required to take level 4 to continue on to college level classes. Students in the ESOL program have residency and do not have course load requirements.