How to improve your English as part of a new community
Have you recently moved far from home into a new English speaking community? Is English your second, or third, language? Here are some tips that will help you brush up on your English while helping you integrate into your new community. Good luck!
1. Volunteer in Your New Community
Volunteering is a great way to practice your English while giving back to your community. You can volunteer with senior citizens, at a library or other places in your community. A simple Google search for “volunteer opportunities [your city]” will give you an idea of what volunteer opportunities your new city has to offer. Volunteering also creates an immersion environment for learning English. Studies show that immersion in the language that you are learning will greatly increase the chances of becoming fluent.
2. Get out and read!
One of the best places to hang out as a new immigrant is the local library. There, you can browse thousands of books, newspapers and usually the internet for free. Be on the lookout for English learning books that will help you expand your vocabulary. While it is tempting to stay at home and live in a bubble of your native language during your first days, weeks or months in a new country, spending a few hours each day at the library to read will help you improve your English while being somewhere somewhat social. Make friends with the librarians, practice your English with them and work on making your conversations longer and longer. Grab a seat, get a book and start reading.
3. What are friends for?
The next step is making new friends in your community. Luckily there are some great free resources on the internet for meeting people with similar interests. Use www.meetup.com to find regular hangouts of people with similar interests. Search for discussions, philosopher’s cafes and events related to your hobbies or occupation and try to attend as many as possible. At these events, set a small goal of talking to 5 people. It can be hard at first, but it gets easier as you work harder and harder chatting with strangers. Once you start making friends, speak English with them. Start by talking in person or on the phone so you are using complete sentences before you begin exchanging SMS’s as proper grammar and spelling are usually not present in text messages.
Lastly, stay positive, moving to a new country isn’t easy. Turn the stress that comes with the move into energy to spend meeting new people and perfecting your English! What tips can you add?