EC San Diego offers a variety of opportunities for international students to learn English in the United States; from a basic General English course (20 lessons/week) to the TOEFL San Diego exam preparation course (30 lessons/week), students can study English at a challenging yet realistic pace based on their incoming level of proficiency. Students at EC San Diego improve their English language skills to such a great extent that English becomes a part of their daily routine at school and at home.
But what about when your courses are over, and you are no longer immersed in American English culture? How do you maintain your new English language abilities when there is no longer an ESL instructor in front of you and a white board that says “English Only”?
Here are a few tips from EC San Diego teachers, staff and students about how to keep up your English:
- Make an effort to read English newspapers online (like The Huffington Post) or try reading a few pages or a chapter of a book written by a native English speaker. Remember to choose fiction or non-fiction works that are not instructional – enjoy what you’re reading! Oftentimes, books translated into English do not have the same phrases or meanings as the original book.
- Try to translate words you hear or say in your native language into English. Do you remember the right English word? Is it on the tip of your tongue, but you can’t quite grasp it? Making an effort to try translating words or phrases into English helps to solidify ESL learners’ confidence in using those words or phrases. Translating in your head also helps to keep the language part of your brain active!
- Keep a notebook of English words and phrases you especially like or find useful, and want to easily reference in the future!!
- Listen to English music you enjoy . Remembering lyrics with a rhythm helps students to identify those English phrases later!
- Repeating with Teaching: teach family and friends English words. This way you build and maintain your confidence using English!
- For those who want the Extra Challenge: change your computer, internet browser, and smart phone settings to “English”. Navigating the technology you use daily in English will help you to remember and use your English in the real world!!
- And of course….speak, speak, speak in English whenever you have the chance!!
Learning a language is a difficult but fulfilling experience for everyone. At EC San Diego, your English language skills will improve as you become part of the English language community at school and in your life outside of EC. The advice above also applies to those looking to acquaint themselves with English before coming to school.
No matter what, English language learning and retention would not be complete without the full immersion program provided by EC San Diego, perseverance during studies, and of course, practice, practice, practice!!