English School for International Students is Not as Difficult as You Think
Learning a language abroad can be one of the most memorable and valuable education experiences of your life. By learning a language outside your country in a place where your target language is the native language, you open doors to so many possibilities.
But no one ever said that learning a language is easy. As rewarding as it is, learning a foreign language as an international student takes time, dedication, and good study ethic. For example, to really learn a language, every opportunity to speak, read, listen, or write should be taken as a chance to practice or build upon the language knowledge you’ve gained so far.
If you’re taking English classes at an English school for international students, you’re already headed in the right direction. But even with the support of an English language school, there are still numerous challenges to deal with. Here are some tips for dealing with challenges encountered by international students taking ESL classes:
Think in English
The solution here is to start thinking in English. Whenever you know you’re going to have some exchange in English (for example, you’re approaching a cashier at a store) imagine the conversation in your head before you start saying anything. What can you say to be the conversation starter? What is the other person likely to say in your situation? What will he or she say in response to what you want to say? Having this back and forth conversation in your head is a great way to practice thinking in English.
This works in everyday situations and in the classroom as well! When you learn some new grammar or vocabulary, think right away about when you would use it in a conversation in your own language. Then try to imagine that conversation in English. Not sure if it’s right? Time to ask a question to your teacher!
Apply what you learn to the real world
Don’t let your classroom be the only place where you speak English. This is especially important for people who live in cultural enclaves where many or most of the people who live in an area use a language other than English. Southern California has quite a lot of these, and it can be easy to not use English at all after leaving your campus. If this describes your current situation, the extra effort is incumbent upon you to discover community events at your local library, drive a few extra blocks to the American grocery store once in a while, subscribe to a digest magazine that you can read at your leisure, or schedule events with people who don’t speak English (so that you have no choice but to speak English).
Make connections with your native language
If you’re learning English as an adult, you will need to connect the grammar and vocabulary to what you know in your native language as well. This doesn’t mean that you should learn English only in the terms of your native language, however. It just means to keep a dictionary close by in case the context and explanations in English are not enough to help you understand enough on their own.
Put yourself in English-only situations
As an English learner, you might often feel scared to speak with native speakers. That feeling is completely understandable because you might be afraid of being embarrassed or of the native speaker not being able to understand you. Nevertheless, these opportunities are so valuable because of the potential to solidify what you learned in the classroom with real-life situations that you will remember.
You can also try to make friends with people who don’t speak your native language. English learners who spend time speaking English together are much more likely to develop their fluency faster than those who do not. Another good thing about meeting with other English learners is that it lowers the pressure and anxiety to speak perfectly. You probably have classmates in your ESL school who don’t speak your native language. Why not ask them about their weekend plans and see if you can do something together. Your new best friend might be sitting right next to you!
Stay engaged by asking questions
Asking questions in a class is so important, and every teacher will agree. Asking questions shows your teacher that you are genuinely interested in the class material and that you are thinking about how you can use the lesson content in authentic, natural ways. Also, by asking questions you essentially personalize the lesson to what you want or need to know to use English effectively in your own life.
You can stay engaged in the class better by asking for help as well. Asking for help will show your interest to your class instructor, and it will benefit you in a personal way. Your ESL teachers are there to help you after all. That is their main motivation, so you should make the most of that!
Since LASC’s head teachers and faculty are all specially trained ESL teaching professionals, we are in a perfect situation to help you manage the challenges you will face as learners of English. Our supportive staff will also be there to lend you a hand or offer helpful advice to make the best of your English learning experience at any of our three Southern California campuses.