Why do students learn to speak more quickly when they are overseas?
English courses taught in your native country are a good start, and they will be useful once you take the next step and enroll in an immersion program overseas. The problem with studying English in your native country is that you do not have the opportunity to use it in a natural setting. Have you ever ordered a meal in an English speaking restaurant, conversed with an English-speaking associate, or had to ask for directions while visiting an English speaking country? If you have it is a safe bet that you remember almost every word you said and that these are the first words that come to mind when you try to think of something in English. It is a proven fact that you will learn anything more quickly if the lesson is part of a meaningful experience. Practice is good but practice with a purpose is much better.
The most important thing is setting your goal. You need to set short- term goals (e.g. I will learn five new words every day, I will read at least one weekly magazine every week or one book every month,) and also setting long-term goals for your future.
Try to think about your everyday life in English, not your native tongue. In your vocab book, don’t translate English words into your language – write the words and the meanings in simple English that you can understand. Think in English. Write your personal memo, diary in English. – Set your goal (e.g. I will learn five new words every day, read a weekly magazine every week and a book every month).
Read the local newspapers every day. Start to read briefly the headline first and few paragraph, and then read the whole article by selection. Don’t use your dictionary every time you find a new word – try and guess all the words as you can. Use the dictionary only for the really important words that you need to understand the main idea.
Revise new words and recycle vocabulary every day for about half an hour.
Build vocabulary by reading books, newspapers and magazines rather than just using your dictionary.
Listen to the radio – in the car, dining table, in your bed. Talkback radio is particularly useful because the people who ring up are ordinary New Zealanders. Also try taping the news on the radio and listen to it several times. The more times you listen, the more you’ll hear and understand.
Watch TV news every day. It is difficult to understand but if you have a video, record it and watch it as many times as you need to