Using English

The Natural Tendency

The natural tendency for you as an international student is to seek out friends from your country who speak your native language. In other words, you establish a kind of comfort zone within your native language/culture at Plattsburgh State.

If you do this, your aquisition of English will slow down, really

s l o w d o w n.

In fact, you may make no progress at all.

The time you spend outside of class in language practice is critically important.

Let's calculate the hours. There are 16 hours in a day subtracting 8 for sleeping. Thus, there are 112 hours each week that we are awake (at least most of us are awake!). Once classes start, you will be spending 16 hours in class and an average of 32 hours each week on homework, or a total of 48 hours for academic pursuits. That leaves 64 hours that are "free!"

In order to learn English you will need to spend a big chunk of this free time using English. This doesn't have to be dreary or boring study. You can use English and have FUN at that same time!

Some Suggestions:

  1. Make friends with Americans or international students who speak English. Have dinner with them, chat, go to movie, play cards, hang out. One or two hours a day of this kind of practice will make a huge difference in your English!

  2. Join a university club or organization; this is a great way to make a new friend. Plattsburgh State has dozens of clubs --there must be one that would interest you!

  3. Watch T.V.! Rent movie DVDs or videos! See, learning English can be fun!

  4. Read, Read, Read. This doesn't mean textbooks. Pick out something from the Internet or a magazine, newspaper, or book that interests you. Try to read for pleasure one hour a day.

  5. E-mail your friends. Tell them about all your new exciting experiences--try to use English for all of your e-mailing!

What are the Benefits?

  • Remember your goal is to begin full-time study as a regular student as quickly as possible. By immersing yourself in English you will accomplish this much, much faster.
  • You will begin to think in English instead of constantly translating from your language to English and from English to your language.
  • You will do better in all of your English Bridge classes. Yes, you'll get better grades!
  • It will be easier to make friends with Americans and international students from other countries.
  • Most of all, after just a few months, you will notice a BIG improvement in your English.

Are You Convinced?

Does this make sense? This type of commitment WILL make the difference. This is what separates the successful language learners from the unsuccessful language learners. But you have to be willing to take up the challenge!

Are you willing to make the commitment? If so, please sign the Learning Contract.

Questions, Comments, Suggestions?

If you would like more information about the ESL Bridge Program, please contact:

Mrs. Marcia Gottschall, Coordinator
Office: Learning Center, Feinberg 103
Phone: (518) 564-2298
Email: gottscmk@plattsburgh.edu