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Improving your English

It has never been easy to study in another country in a foreign language. No matter how brilliant your ideas are, others will not understand if you are unable to communicate (both spoken and written) your ideas effectively. To make your study life easier and more fruitful in Australia, good English is very important. Below are some useful tips on how to improve your English.

1. Attend English Courses

Attending English courses is the most direct and effective way to improve your English. The classes are designed to help students to improve their English systematically.

There are various types of English courses available. For example, English for academic purposes, general English, ILETS' preparation classes etc. There are also tailor-made classes for improving your listening or spoken English if required.

The school will test your level of English before placing you into the right class. The duration of classes are also flexible ranging from 5 weeks, 10 weeks, 30 weeks or even 50 weeks. If you have advanced to a higher level than the class you are currently attending, you could probably carry over the rest of tuition fees to the next higher level classes.

English courses are most suitable to help students who have just arrived to study in Australia.

2. Day-to-Day Learning

Apart from English courses, the most important thing is to use your English in your day-to-day living. It's also free and you can do it anytime!. Here are some of the suggestions for you to consider in your daily life to improve your reading, listening, speaking and writing skills.

Reading

Reading is an excellent way to improve your vocabulary and understanding. You can read books, magazines, newspapers - anything that you are interested in. It is entertaining and at the same time, it can help to improve your English.

"Talking books" area also helpful in reading. Many libraries have "Talking-Books " section, which is a collection of popular books accompanied by a tape or CD with a narration of the story.

The daily newspapers is another useful source as you can keep up to date with current issues. You will also have access to the current language and culture from a newspaper article.

Listening

Listening is very important in your study life. You need to have good listening skills in order to get the most from your lectures and tutorials. Try to listen actively by taking notes and this could help you to process the information you are hearing. Don't feel frustrated if you get lost somewhere as even native speakers cannot remember everything they hear. Remember listening will improve with time.

There are some ways to practise listening and they are enjoyable as well. You can listen to popular music and read the words from the album. You can also improve your listening while watching TV programs or movies.

Speaking

Same as listening, speaking will improve as time goes by. Many people are just too shy to speak English especially in front of a native speaker. However, the best way to gain confidence is by speaking to a native speaker.

Try to mix with local Aussies actively. When you are doing group assignments, get some Aussie classmates to your group rather than sticking with friends of the same nationality. In this way, you will be forced to discuss your project in English and practise speaking more often.

You can also join some conversation classes. Some organizations such as student union, churches, community centres etc. will offer free conversation classes for you to practise speaking English.

Also, you can choose to live with local Aussies in homestay. There, you can mix with local Aussies in your daily live and understand more about their culture and language.

Writing

More reading would help you to improve your writing. You can also keep a journal or diary so that you can write a little each day.

There are also lots of resources from your universities to help you writing essays or reports. Tips for the writing format, structure, grammar etc. and even for specific faculty are also available from some school language centre.

Always remember - "Practice Makes Perfect".