Do you ever feel any of the following?
- I’ve hit a brick wall and my English is going nowhere.
- I’ve been stuck at the same level for months and I don’t feel as if I’m making any progress.
- I can’t have conversations or I’m having difficulty understanding native English speakers.
- I’m not able to apply for a job because my English isn’t good enough.
- My accent is too strong and nobody can understand what I’m saying.
- I keep making the same grammatical mistakes no matter how many times my teacher corrects me.
If you feel or you can relate to any of the above statements, well this blog may be of interest to you. You are not alone, in fact, the majority of students taking English courses at the Galway Cultural Institute have experienced one or more of these feelings at some stage during their time learning English in Ireland. Just remember we all have good days and bad days and how well we communicate is greatly influenced by our mood on a particular day, so it’s so important to stay positive and go easy on yourself. Give yourself some credit for having the courage to leave the comfort zone of your home country and travel to the west of Ireland to seek out a better future. You can be sure that your Galway Cultural Institute English courses and learning experience will stand to you for the rest of your life.
Now as a teacher with several years teaching experience, I would like to offer a few of my own personal tips to improve your fluency in the English language.
1. Immerse yourself in the English language
When you finish your English lessons, you need to find opportunities to immerse yourself in the English language. Before you go to bed make a plan for the following day that includes English speaking activities. If you finish your English course at 12.30, have a coffee and a chat with some other students or if it is raining you could play a board game, like scrabble or chess in the Halla Mor.
If the weather is nice, you could possibly go for a walk on the prom in Salthill with another student and take in the breathtaking views of Galway Bay or organize a weekend excursion with other students to Connemara, Cliffs of Moher or the Aran Islands.
If you’re on your own, listen to English podcasts that you’re interested in and make sure you get a copy of an Irish newspaper to keep up to date with what’s happening in Ireland. In other words, you’ve got to surround yourself in English as much as possible and, above all, never use the weather as an excuse for not participating in social activities!