Imagine the following situation:
You’ve studied long and hard in school to prepare yourself for moving to the U.K.
- You’ve got straight A’s in English.
- You’ve passed your English certification.
- Your friends and family are all impressed.
- You’re full of confidence and excited to make new friends.
But when you finally arrive in the U.K. it isn’t like you thought.
- Everyone speaks too quickly and in a thick accent you can’t understand.
- You have trouble following along in class, not able to understand your teachers.
- Making friends is difficult because either they don’t understand your English accent or you can’t understand theirs.
- People use words you know but in ways you don’t understand.
- You begin failing all your classes.
- You lose confidence in speaking English and only talk with your fellow foreigners.
Here’s The 3 Things You Need To Know Before You Get On the Plane:
Native speakers from the UK have various types of accents which can be difficult to understand when you first hear them. Even us Americans can have trouble with them so imagine a non native speaker!
Make sure to expose yourself to British media: movies, TV, etc. Get used to listening to them from the comfort of your own home so it won’t be so bad once you’re in front of a real native speaker.
All in all though you can’t learn about English accents in a foreign classroom. Not going to happen. You need an English speaking native to spend time working with you one on one and preparing you for what you’re going to face.
2. Use of words
The way people talk to each other is not like in a text book or in class. Native speakers use lots of slang and phrasal verbs. Their speech is far from grammatically perfect.
Again similar advice to above. Watching and listening to British speakers will help a lot. There’s also plenty of information online about phrasal verbs, idioms, and colloquial phrases.
In the classroom teachers teach “perfect English” not spoken English. The only true way to learn spoken English is outside the classroom and in the real world. So get out of the classroom and start talking with a real English speaker.
Unless you were born in Britain native speakers may just as easily have trouble understanding you so it’s important to make sure you get the pronunciation of words down.
Record yourself talking and listen back to it. Be 100% honest with yourself on how you sound. Do you sound like a British or American person speaking or do you sound like a Chinese person speaking English?
You can get an A in all of your oral exams without speaking perfectly. But in England this isn’t good enough. People won’t understand what you’re saying. Or even worse they may make fun of you! So what better way then to start practicing with someone who can help?
Are You Ready?
If you’re not sure if you’re prepared for your time in England, why not book a free call with me in order to find out? I’ll give you an assessment of your current English ability, and explain where you can improve. I’ll then give you a plan about what you SPECIFICALLY need to do so you can step off that plane with CONFIDENCE.
So what are you waiting for? Email me your goals, expectations, and availability today to get started!
Or end up sounding like these people: