Meeting new people can be intimidating even when you all speak the same language. Speaking up in a language you barely know? Now that can be downright terrifying! But taking the time to get social both inside and outside of the classroom is one of the best things students can do when learning English as a second language in Canada. Socializing gives you the chance to perfect your conversation skills, prepare for success in university, and develop a supportive network of new friends.
Here are 4 simple tips to get you started on getting social in a second language:
1. Start With Your English Language Classes
The most effective ESL programs go beyond rote memorization by creating opportunities for students to have meaningful exchanges in a comfortable and nurturing setting. For example, at CultureWorks students participate in simple debates, practice back-and-forth conversations, and learn how to give presentations and speak in front of a group. Enriched activities like these work as terrific confidence builders because they teach students how to speak up and respond spontaneously – without dictionaries or memory aids.
2. Get Used to Being Outside Your Comfort Zone
Let’s say that you are taking English courses for Western University because you want to study Business, start your own company, and work with international clients. Once you graduate and start your career, you will have to attend important meetings, give presentations, and write reports – all in English. The best way to get comfortable pulling off advanced tasks like these is to take small steps now, and push beyond your ESL comfort zone.
Start with something simple like ordering a muffin at a coffee shop, or chatting in English with your classmates. At first it might feel intimidating, but over time you’ll get used to those small exchanges and move on to bigger conversations – like which business trends you find most interesting, and which stocks you would invest in!
3. Practise Answers to Common Questions
Although your goal is natural conversation in English, preparing and practising answers to common questions can really take the stress out of those first interactions. Some typical questions you can prepare for include:
- Where do you come from?
- How do you like Canada so far?
- What are you planning to study in university?
As you get more comfortable, you will no longer need to repeat your memorized responses – and can start having more spontaneous and advanced interactions.
4. Put Yourself in Situations Where You’ll Meet New People
When you study English in Canada at CultureWorks you’ll have plenty of opportunities to participate in social events. From cultural festivals and team sports to day trips off campus to explore local surroundings – every event offers chances to practice your growing English skills and build new friendships. Even if you’re feeling shy, participate in every activity. It’s the best way to build your confidence and practise some of the tips you’ve learned in this post.
Getting social in a second language can feel intimidating, but take heart. Canadians are known for their kindness and will be more than happy to explain new vocabulary, repeat a question, or help out if you forget a word.
How else would you practise your English while meeting new people?