International student Eda's story - how did I learn English?
I learnt English, in a non-English speaking country and surprisingly it was easier than I imagined. I have 5 simple strategies that work - namely it has to be fun and motivating. I encourage you to make your own list as we're all different and what works for me may not for you. So here are my top 5 tips:
- Learn about a topic you're passionate about
- Read newspapers and explore new words
- Listen to your favourite English songs to learn how words are pronounced and used in context
- Visit an English-speaking country and socialise
- Never be afraid to speak English. Others want you to succeed so GO FOR IT!
1. Learn about a topic you’re passionate about
I have an interest in travel and health, so I read a lot about these topics to help improve my command of English. When I had children, topics related to family and parenthood became an area of interest too. If your interests are varied, don't worry as finding quality content around your favourite topics today is a click away. Becoming a member of interesting websites can also be helpful in getting the latest insights.
2. Read newspapers and explore new words
In my home country, Turkey, I was able to read Australian newspapers online and this helped to stimulate my interest in current affairs Down Under. It also helped me understand the culture better. Aussie rules football, Surf Life Saving and Australian Open tennis were all my favourites at one time. I vividly recall my experience watching Muriel’s Wedding, The Castle and a Carlton match for the first time. That said, my conversion to the Carlton FC is a work in progress.
3. Listen to your favourite English songs to learn how words are pronounced and used in context
I was born in 1990, so there was a lot of great English music to listen to and enjoy. It helped my English enormously to sing and understand the words. This may not seem like a great achievement for many, however, for me it was a great first step to learning how words are pronounced and used in context. I like the band Queen and would regularly sing along to Don’t Stop Me Now, Under Pressure and Bohemian Rhapsody. Despite my best efforts, I was not quite at the Freddy Mercury level!
4. Visit an English-speaking country and socialise
On my first holiday to London, I was able to truly immerse myself into English culture. Whether I was visiting Buckingham Palace, riding the Tube or having a pint at the local pub, I had the best time. I picked up a lot of new English words and it motivated me to learn more so I could enhance my travelling experience. The visit to the UK left me 100% committed to improve my English and this motivation continues to this day.
5. Never be afraid to speak English
This is perhaps the most important aspect of learning a language - face your fears and be strong as sometimes when learning a new language, you may get hurt, be misunderstood and get ridiculed. Strong support from loved ones is helpful as some people can be quite insensitive. The truth is that most people will help and encourage you so never be afraid to get out from the shadows and simply talk English. There is no better way to learn than speaking and learning by practising. This requires grit and the willingness to make mistakes and pick yourself up again.
I hope these 5 key steps can help you take your English to the next level. Surround yourself with people who have the same goal, learn jokes in English, take yourself out and socialise with new people. Get out of your comfort zone and make a new friend, it will be fun!