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How To Improve Your English

As an international student in America, being able to communicate in English fluently is crucial. However, it’s not always easy for many international students to learn and improve the as much as they’d like. Here are several practical, effective methods that can help you improve your English…

Watch English Movies and TV Shows

A great way to improve your English is by watching movies and TV shows. It’s a great to pick up on every day communications and American slang, all while improving your listening skills. Friends, Desperate Housewives, Sex and the City, and Gossip Girls are all classic (and fun!) shows that can help your English proficiency while learning more about American culture. In addition, you can also watch different types of shows depending on your hobbies and interests. If you’re a sports fan, you can watch games and related news on ESPN. If you’re majoring in law, you could watch shows like Law and Order and The Good Wife, etc. Just remember, when you watch these shows you are not only doing it for fun—you’re also learning how to communicate like a native speaker. Here are some ways you can gain access to TV shows and Movies:

  • Netflix offers a variety of shows and movies like Friends, Gossip Girl, etc. There’s a monthly fee starting from $7.99 per month.
  • Amazon Video also provides all kinds of shows to watch, including The Good Wife, the Newsroom, and Suits. Prime members have free access to many of the shows and movies listed on Amazon Video.
  • If you have a specific show in mind and want to watch, another option for you is to find the TV network that owns the show. Most TV networks have their own apps and their own shows are available on the apps. For instance, NBCFox, and ABC offer free access to latest episodes of shows, plus Showtime and HBO offer unlimited access of their shows with a monthly fee.

Read Newspapers                              

This is a great way to improve your English reading skills, get you up to date on what’s going on around the world, and expand your vocabulary. You don’t have to read every article in the newspaper, just pick articles that catch your eye then just scan the others quickly. Doing this also helps you to explore possible topics that you can bring up when networking or starting conversations with professionals and other students. Some great newspapers to start with are The Wall Street JournalThe New York Times, and USA Today.

Become Friends with American Students

This is probably the thing you’ve heard most when it comes to improving your English, and is definitely the most effective method. However, many international students find it difficult to become friends with American students. The good news is that the methods we’ve already talked about, from watching TV and movies to reading the newspaper, can help you get out and make friends with the students around you by helping you stay up on the latest in news and pop culture. In addition, there are a lot of opportunities around campus for you to get involved and interact with American students in order to practice English. For example, most students will have the opportunity to work in teams with American students during their classes, plus joining clubs and organizations will give you plenty of chances to make friends with American students. READ: Get Involved with Clubs and Organizations No matter what path you take to meet more American students, just get out there and don’t be afraid! Take initiative, start conversations, and trust that your friendly personality will transcend any language barriers you may have.   The most important thing to keep in mind if you really want to improve these skills is to be confident and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Making mistakes and learning from them can actually help you improve English faster, so take every chance to practice, be confident and be persistent, and you’re sure to see improvements!

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Shirley Du

Shirley is a graduate student at Indiana University Kelley School of Business. She has been in the United States for three years, and comes from a city near Beijing. Her interests include traveling and doing volunteer works.


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