Taking Classes in English When English Isn’t Your First Language

When you decide to study abroad, first thing you think is “how do I demonstrate that I have language skills?” This is easy… but when you start studying, that is the challenge… Here is my experience going to college in Canada and taking classes in English when English isn’t my first language.

Why study abroad?

In Canada, one of options to stay legally in this country, especially for international people is studying, which is an opportunity to upgrade your knowledge to understand the culture and have a better career. For that, you first have to understand the language you will take, and usually, Colleges accept IELTS, TOEFL, CELPIP. This one is common in Canada and some offer their own language test. The minimum of level is 5.5/6.0.

Before taking classes in English

If you do not have the minimum to demonstrate your language skills, it is better you take some classes first. This is not IMPOSSIBLE!

You can take classes in the language to prepare yourself for a college. Some schools offer preparation for college, which includes teaching how to write an essay (which is very important), how to understand the questions in your tests, and so on. When you feel prepared, then you are ready to apply for classes. 

Step by Step: Learning in English 

I decided to study at George Brown College for 2 years during the pandemic.

After providing my English skills through the IELTS test and being accepted by the college, I started my classes, afraid I wouldn’t understand what they should say. However it was easy because the professors speak slowly and easily in a way that I could understand. Some students are not used to practicing English and, for those, I would recommend taking English class first or for while.

During Classes

Pay attention to what your professor teaches and if you are in doubt, ask questions. 

Sometimes, there are some words that I could not understand and I had to search for the meaning. While working in groups, I used to listen and read more than speak, but as soon as I decided to share my opinion, even if it is not correct grammar… everybody understood. 

So, speak or read even if your are not 100% correct. Do it. At least everybody understands your idea. 

How did I graduate from a Community College In Canada?

Dedication!! Yes, I dedicated most of my time to studying, reading, and writing, took some orientation to write it better. I graduated with honor. 

by Sylvia Rodrigues

Thanks Sylvia for sharing with us about your experience taking classes in English when English isn’t your first language. For more articles like this one, click here!

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