Ways to practice and improve your English

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English is not the mother tongue for the majority of our interns, so language is often one of the major barriers for candidates completing their international internship in Australia. Despite the fact that candidates have completed (or are completing) their degrees, have excellent communications skills in their own language and are exceptional candidates with great references, most of them find it daunting to start their careers in another country, speaking another language.

Truth is that practice makes perfect, so we have selected a few tips that could help you practice your English and perform better with your Host Organisation. Check these out:

Listening

You’ve arrived in Australia! Great chance to start practicing your listening skills straightaway!

Tip 1) Pay attention to the conversations around you! Every time you go out for coffee, shopping, meeting friends or for your internship, you will have a chance to listen to other people communicating in English. What are the expressions they use? What sort of slangs and accent Australians have? Try to understand each word and identify the things you didn’t know.

Tip 2) Listen to content in English as much as you can! Instead of listening to English in your free time only, do it while you are performing other activities, such as riding a bus or train, doing house chores (washing dishes, cooking), working out or waiting for something (doctor’s appointment etc).

There are so many FREE materials online! Movies, TV Series, Podcasts, YouTube Videos, Audiobooks…explore!

Reading

You may have had a chance to read some books in English while studying or just for fun. However, this may be your first time living in an English speaking country, so use this opportunity in your favour:

Tip 1) Read everything available in your daily life in Australia: magazines, newspapers, online blogs and news to practice and learn terms you wouldn’t find in a book / literature. Again, free online content is available and you can read wherever you go.

Tip 2) Change your phone (and other devices) settings. This will force you to “think in English” every time you need to do something on your devices.

Writing

Writing skills will be extremely important during your internship in Australia, so practice, practice, practice:

Tip 1) Interns and young professionals are constantly communicating in writing: emails, texts, presentations etc. Write emails, read them, rewrite them, look for words you are not familiar with, use a dictionary, ask for help, learn from the emails you receive and keep practising.

Tip 2) Tweet, use Facebook or blog in English. It’s a simple (and free) way to develop you writing skills, and can help you to learn new idioms and expressions as you connect with other English speakers and learners online.

Speaking

For many, speaking is the most challenging area to improve, since it requires you to expose yourself. Again, there are ways to practice:

Tip 1) Don’t be shy! Use every single opportunity to engage in real life conversations: the barista while you wait for coffee, an old lady at the supermarket, a gentleman sitting by your side on a bus or train, your colleagues in your internship. These interactions, even if short, will give you more confidence when you have a more formal situation in a workplace.

Tip 2) Talk to yourself. It may sound crazy, but saying your thoughts out loud or narrating your actions can be a very effective way to practice spoken English. Also, practicing alone is a low-pressure way to practice, since no one will hear your mistakes.

Well, there are no excuses: these simple, free and easy tips will certainly help you improve your English while in Australia. Start it now!

Published on by Daniele L.