Learning English in New York – A Student’s Account

2011 January 5
by Kazumi

Read this article in the author’s native language: NYで英語学習

Some people think that they’ll be able to speak English by just living in a foreign country. Through my experiences though, without the right language school, it is quite difficult to learn English. I came to New York about half a year ago, and it was so difficult to find a chance to speak English. I had no friends, work, nor was I a student studying abroad. So I decided to attend an English school in New York City. After I started going to school, I had a lot of good opportunities to speak English. I was able to speak much more with other people, solve problems in English, meet teachers who have had good experiences and passion, ask teachers to correct my mistakes, get information and last but not least I was able to make foreign friends.

There are a lot of English schools in New York City. Do you know what type of English school is best? I have only been to two English schools in New York, but through my experience, I’ve learned the following things:

First, I think it is a good thing to go to a school that focuses on conversational skills. Most Japanese have learned English for at least six years, so we already know basic grammar and words. Actually, I usually try to speak English, but it happens often that I can’t speak English naturally. I think that I lack experience speaking English. It is especially better for a shy person like me to take private lessons or small group classes that can add to my experiences of speaking English.

Second, I recommend for you to go to a school where you can easily make foreign friends. A lot of people from all over the world come to New York City to study English. And you’ll be amazed at the foreign friends that you can make that you can’t have in your own country. When you make foreign friends, you have a greater opportunity to use English. For example, you always use English with your friends when you go to a café or a restaurant, send an email to each other, and talk on the phone. When you can’t speak English well and you can’t understand the idioms in daily conversation, it is good to write and take notes. After you come home, you will look up the words in the dictionary or on the internet and then review. In doing so, you learn practical English. And you can learn not only English but also more about foreign cultures and customs.

I think making foreign friends is a wonderful thing. Do you think so too?

Hills Learning frequently holds parties and events which are useful for you to make friends. I can’t guarantee that you’ll make foreign friends soon, but you’ll easily find common subjects to talk about because you have the same purpose: to learn language. I think it is good to join events like this.

It is true thing that English skills do not improve quickly. So sometimes I feel stressed out and depressed because I feel like I can’t speak English. And as you know, it is so difficult to constantly be motivated to learn English. I recognize that the best way to remain motivated is to “have your own goal”. Goals help us when we become discouraged. Even though I cannot achieve the results right away, I believe I can accomplish my goal when I keep working towards it.

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