Learning a foreign language is easier for some people and harder for others. When you are an International Student in the US learning and improving your English is vital. Making friends with American students at college is one of the best ways you can improve your English skills.
We at peerTransfer have come up with tips and tricks to help you improve your day to day English with peers.
Do some home work before you come to the U.S.
Being prepared is always helpful. Re-take your English practice tests (TOEFL, ESL), read English newspapers or magazines (online), watch movies in English (with English subtitles) to get used to conversational English and different accents.
Learn and study English phrases
All of us have learned thousands of words in school, however putting them all together in sentences that make sense can be rather difficult. Instead of just learning more vocabulary, try learning entire phrases and practice both words and phrases together.
Mingle with native students
Many International Students tend to befriend a lot of other International students which may be helpful in some ways, but you will probably “miss out on improving your English and picking up cultural and social cues” as US News explains. A great way to make first contact with American students is to sign up for Tandem Programs. Check out your school’s pin wall to see who is interested in teaching English in return for learning the our mother tongue. Matched pairs usually meet a couple of times/week for coffee and spend half an hour talking in English, and the other half hour in your mother tongue – a win-win situation for all 🙂
Practice is key
Participate in activities such as team sports, music groups, drama classes, whatever peaks your interest. The more you go out there and do things, the more interactions you will have with native English speakers – it’s as simple as that! Furthermore, and although you shouldn’t spend too much time in front of the TV, watching popular shows and movies, and keeping up with news can be helpful when discussing different topics in a group.
Keep a diary in English
Keeping a diary is a great way of making sure you use your English even if you don’t speak English too much during the day. Other than writing a college paper, keeping a diary, or even a (anonymous) blog of real things that are going on in your life means that the words you will use will probably also be useful later in an actual conversation with someone. Just remember: The more you engage in conversation with others, the better you get.
If you have any other tips and tricks for improving your English, please let us know in the comments below. Happy conversing!