My First Days in the United States
Surely you have heard how difficult it is to emigrate, how difficult it is at the beginning, but also how comforting when things start going well and little by little you find yourself comfortable with your destiny. When you arrive in another country, you must adapt to the new culture, tradition, and people. For sure you feel lost, that feeling of not belonging to something. Student visa process may be complicated but doesn’t have too.
Obviously, you miss your roots, your family, your friends, but for any of the reasons you decided to leave your country, you are here now, trying to start from zero, contribute to this society and acquire new knowledge.
I remember the first days when I arrived in the United States; my plan was to study English. I’ve always had a certain fascination for studying it and talking about it (it’s the universal language); the country where I come from (Venezuela) has been Americanized with TV, products, styles, etc., so I’ve always been influenced by this country. Since I was a teenager, I have not listened to any song that was not in English; I always looked for the lyrics and translated them.
So when I decided to emigrate to the United States, apply for the student visa, specifically in Dallas, Texas, I came with high motivation to learn the language.
How were the first days?
My first days in the U.S. were frightening and exciting at the same time. We come with very high or very low expectations to success. For example, I thought that the process of obtaining my student visa would be faster. There are so many requests that the process can take more than 1 year.
Also, not all the institutes, schools, colleges allow you to change your visa status; they need to have your student visa from your country. At that time, I only had information of one institute (American Learning Institute) that could help you process your permission to study at U.S.A, so I decided to visit them and request information, but now I was wondering, how can I communicate my doubts and everything? Stress come to me!
I felt that I spoke English like a child, I don’t know maybe 2 years old, I saw people around trying to understand what I was saying (even now it still happens) but the good thing is that in that institute they had different people who spoke several languages, so there was someone who spoke Spanish. What a relief, because, let’s be honest, important issues that include legality and money, you need to have the exact information before making a decision.
Now what? Student visa process.
I spent time getting to know the city of Dallas, while I was waiting for the approval of my visa application process, I was going out with my husband and some friends.
One of them already has time living here and invited us to go out with his American friends.
Has not it happened to you that you feel insignificant when you cannot communicate well? I mean, like: What do I do here with these people who do not speak my own language ? At the same time you feel less because you cannot establish a whole conversation without making a mistake. Maybe many people doesn’t care, but I do; I felt that I could embarrass my friends, I am a perfectionist. It is what I felt at that moment and although I knew perfectly well that my friends did not care and that the others were not very understanding. I felt uncomfortable, I still feel it sometimes, but obviously I have improved something when I started studying.
That frustration can definitely motivate or discourage you, but it motivates me more.
Tell me, how was your experience when trying to speak English with another person?
Marianny Perez – ALI student
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Fun Ways to Master the English Language
If you can speak a little English and if you can also hold a small conversation in the language, you are a prime candidate for improving your English mastery. There is a lot you can do that will help you speak the language with confidence. If you do not know how to step up to the next level in English, here are a few tips to help you master the language.
Play with English
The first step you need to take is to put an end to your study of the language and instead, you need to learn to play with English. There is more to the language than memorizing and repeating as well as practicing English words. You need to play with the language so that you can take a step closer to mastering the language. To be able to speak and read and write English fluently, you need to play with the language as then you can immerse yourself totally in both a cultural as well as linguistic sense.
Try out a few tongue twisters
Next, you need to practice a few tongue twisters as that will help you impress others. These tongue twisters are not easy even for those who are Native English speakers. So, you will need to repeat them and of course in the process you may even lose a lot of saliva. There are more than six hundred tongue twisters that you can try mastering.
Listen to English songs
The best way to learn vocabulary and rhythm as well as intonation is by tuning into some English music stations. If you already love songs sung in English, this should prove to be a good way to listen to the music so that you can improve your vocabulary and it also allows you to practice English intonation. However, you do not need to memorize the words to the songs. Instead, you need to take your favorite song and try translating it into your mother tongue.
Learn to pronounce words properly
The best way to pronounce English words properly is by learning about rhythm and knowing where to place stress. This is best achieved by practicing reading poetry. Alternatively, you can also ask a friend to help you as you read poetry. Also, translating poems is a good way to improve your English as too is writing poetry in the English language.
Read up to better understand the language
When mastering the English language, you also need to be good at reading. If you want to improve your comprehension of the English language, then you need to read some fairy tales. This allows you to learn vocabulary as well as rhythm as well as the art of telling a story.
A majority of fairy tales have very simple plots and the number of characters in the fairy tales are also limited to a few. This means you can easily remember everything and keep in mind that English language has its roots in the German and Danish folklores. The best way to use fairy tales is by reading through and then repeating to yourself the fairy tale.
Last but not least, you can master the English language by practicing thinking in the language. This will help you improve your vocabulary and you can also learn words that are used every day.
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