Five ways to improve your English

Wing Yan Lui (Cheryl), Fashion Marketing (Industry) shares her tips for improving your English during your time at Leeds.

Being from Hong Kong, it was pretty hard to get used to using English for most conversations when I arrived in Leeds. But throughout my four years at university, I did discover some ways to improve my English, both listening and speaking, and I want to share my tips with you.

Everyday tasks like grocery shopping and watching English TV shows can help you build up your confidence.

#1. Listen more

The best way to improve your English is to get in touch with it more often. Whether you want to improve your listening or speaking, incorporating and using more English, especially in your daily life, can drastically improve your English language skills. There are many ways to do it. One example is using tools such as foreign dramas, YouTube, e-books and songs. — they’re great for helping you learn new vocabulary, idioms and slang — and I highly suggest you turn on the English subtitles when you’re watching TV! It is also an excellent way to learn the speaking tones and ways of saying things. It’s also more fun than relying on textbooks to learn.

A group of four students sit on the grass outside university socialising
Making friends who aren’t from your home country can really help you improve your English.

#2: Make foreign friends

The second way is to make friends with foreigners in classes and outside of studying. It is normal to make friends with people from your home country. However, if you want to improve your English, it would be great to be friends with those whose first language is English. This way you can practice more with daily conversations and get to know more people, which is the best of both worlds.

Taking part in volunteering can really help you practice your English speaking skills.

#3. Participate in events and volunteering

Getting involved with events and volunteering generally lets you socialise more with others. Joining events and taking part in volunteering can allow you to meet people who share similar interests to you. By meeting these people, you can easily find topics to talk about and increase your English speaking practice opportunities.

If you have time, a part time job can help with your English and give you a bit of extra money.

#4. Get a part-time job

This method is for the students who can manage their studies and have some free time to work. Many international students might not commonly use this method. But I mentioned it because it is the quickest way to help improve your English as it forces you to speak more English. It creates an opportunity for you to talk to more people, including colleagues and customers.

#5. Find methods that work for you

Last but not least, find a way that suits your learning style and lifestyle. There are many ways to help improve your English, and the methods I have used might not serve you. So be experimental and test them out. Take your time, and certainly, your English will improve.

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