Article by Intrax You have had a wonderful time in America and improved your English skills at Intrax. You were able to speak English every day in the Speaking Strand, practice your vocabulary and learn new grammar in Integrated Skills, and used what you learned in everyday life. But now, you’ve graduated and are headed back home. Some students find it difficult to continue their studies in their home country or no longer use what they have learned. We know how important it is to keep your English sharp! Here are some ways to use it so you don’t lose it.
Stay in touch!
One of the greatest things about Intrax is that you get to meet people from around the world. Before going back home, exchange information (for example: email, phone numbers, WhatsApp numbers, etc.) with the friends and acquaintances you have made. Once you are back home, communicate, write, and talk with them in your common language: English! Do this regularly. Practice asking questions, using slang and idioms, and making sure you are using correct spelling. Throughout the week, think of things that have happened that you want to tell them. This way, you are thinking in English often. Not only will you keep in touch with your new friends , but you will also keep your mind actively thinking in English.
Read in English… Out Loud!
I know this may seem obvious, but reading in English is necessary! Of course, picking a topic you like will make this more interesting. Even reading for five minutes a day can help. When you read, read out loud! It may seem strange at first, but you will get used to it. When you read out loud, you practice your pronunciation and can hear your mistakes. Also, your brain works twice as hard when you read and speak, which means you will remember words better.
Lights, Camera, English!
A good way to continue practicing your English is to watch movies in English. Start with movies you know well in your own language. Watch them in English with English subtitles as well. While watching, write down words you forgot or words you have never heard. When you are finished watching the movielook up the words you wrote down to find their definitions. If you pick a movie you have seen before, you will understand how to use these new words correctly.
Music is also an amazing way to learn a language.
When vocabulary words are set to a rhythm, it helps your brain remember the words better. Here’s a way to get the most out of music: pick a popular American song (perhaps one you have heard on the radio a lot), YouTube the lyrics, and then sing along with the correct lyrics. Do this a few times. When you are done, look up any vocabulary words you don’t know and find out their definition. Not only will you learn new vocabulary words and expressions, but you will now be able to sing along to the radio with the right lyrics!
The buddy system.
At Intrax, you had to speak English every day. In fact, you could only speak in English! But now that you are back home, how can you continue to practice speaking English? Here’s a suggestion: select a friend, colleague, or schoolmate to speak English with. (Or, if necessary, you can do this with someone on Skype) When you are around each other, chose an amount of time to speak English only! Even 15-20 minutes to start with is good. Make a game out of it. Whoever says a word that’s not in English gets a point against them. The person at the end of the week or month with the most points has to buy the other one lunch (or another prize of your choice). This will help motivate you both.
I think we all enjoy a good meal. How can you make food into an English lesson? Here’s how: find a new recipe that is entirely in English and make the meal using English directions only. Before you go to the grocery store to buy the items, write your list using English words only. In fact, you can do this every time you go grocery shopping, or any other time that you make lists. This will give you a bit of a challenge and cause you to think more in English. It will also help you connect English with something you enjoy: eating!