Adapting to life in a new country can be a tough assignment,and when you're based in Australia, that task is made even more difficult ifyou struggle with English. While there is a significant international studentpopulation and plenty of others going through the same thing, getting a stronggrasp of the English language is the ideal way to make the most of studying inAustralia.
There are several official tests, including IELTS, Pearsonand Cambridge, but these aren't the only ways to go about it. Honing yourEnglish language skills can be done at any time of the day in a variety of ways,which will help alleviate stress and boost your confidence.
These are just a few of the ways you can improve yourEnglish in everyday life.
Get in front of the mirror
Spend a few minutes a day talking to the mirror, so you are awareof your body language and facial expressions. This could be every morningbefore you leave the house, or at the end of the day before you go to bed.Simply choose a subject and talk for a couple of minutes. The more you do this,the more confident you will be the next time you're conversing with anotherperson.
There is no shortage of ways you can use technology to boostyour English proficiency. Podcasts, webinars, online tutorials and quizzes, aswell as a series of apps, are all at your disposal. Apps include FluentU, whichtransforms real media content (news, music videos, ads) into personalisedlessons, while Duolingo helps you learn English from a variety of differentlanguages in 10 to 20 minute sessions.
Try to think in English
It's far easier to speak English, or any language for thatmatter, when you're thinking in the same dialect. It will be more comfortableto think in Mandarin if that is your native language but it will complicate thelearning task. Make it a gradual process - start with some thinking in Englishwhen you are alone and then transition this into real-life interactions, suchas ordering food in a restaurant.
Immersing yourself in English will help you become confidentlistening to and understanding native speakers. TV is full of rehearsed,fast-talking actors and practicing keeping up with the way they talk will helpyou converse with people in everyday situations. It is also an invaluable meansof familiarising yourself with common phrases and slang, different regional andinternational accents, and cadences and inflections.
Use your smartphone or a dictaphone to record yourselfspeaking. Perhaps read a scene from a film or a play, then listen to it backand compare it to the source. Listen for differences in pronunciation, makealterations and keep practicing. Listening to your own voice might feel strangeat first, but once you get used to it you will be able to hear what aspects ofyour speaking need work.