If you did not grow up speaking English as your first language, you could benefit from English as a Second Language (ESL) classes or tutoring. Specialists have designed materials to help those wishing to learn English, known as one of the more difficult language to master. You can also receive help with managing in classes taught in English, and taking tests and preparing papers in English.
Finding a local class or tutor provides you the opportunity to interact, ask questions and hear and practice correct pronunciation, as well as meet others in the area who speak your native language.
Finding an ESL teacher/class
Most universities either offer or refer to ESL classes for international students. You can probably find local resources advertised on bulletin boards at the university or in local newspapers. You can also place a “Wanted” ad on a bulletin board or in the paper to advertise your need. It could look something like this:
for student from ________.
if you can help me with my English.
Compare a few people/classes based on what they offer, and how compatible it seems with the needs you have. The following websites could also help you find the assistance you need:
www.esl.com/ - A guide to English language-learning programs all across the U.S., selectable by program type, location and level.
www.esl.net/ This site offers materials, programs and software for learning English as a Second Language on your own.
http://a4esl.org/ Provides free online English learning activities including quizzes, tests, puzzles, exercises and more.
Due to the size of the United States and the varying lifestyles and costs of living throughout the country, you cannot expect to find a set fee that tutors or ESL teachers charge for their services. Not only will it depend on where you live, but a few other factors that will influence the cost include the type of program you choose (individual tutoring, classroom teaching, online program, etc.), the language you speak and the number of ESL options available in your area.
Unless offered through a university or a nationwide or internet program, tutors set their own fees, and they might vary depending on academic level, subject matter, method, frequency, etc. Call several possibilities to get a feel for the going rates in your area. When you compare tutors, make sure that you pay attention to what they offer as well as how much they charge.
Some tutors work personally with individuals for on an on-going basis, while others offer a structured class to a required number of students at a specific time and place. Some will work with you on conversational English basics, while others gear their teaching toward helping you manage your classes and homework in English. Ask the right questions when you interview a potential tutor to ensure that you find someone who will teach you what you most want/need.
To live and function in the United States, you will need to converse with Americans in English. While people from many countries throughout the world speak more than one language fluently, most Americans speak only English.
Beginning with conversational English will allow you to focus on learning how to speak and communicate (converse) in English by focusing on conversation and comprehension first, rather than on grammar, punctuation and vocabulary. Most multi-lingual people will tell you that the best way to learn another language is to use it, not dissect it and learn the building blocks first. Rather than focusing on word-to-word translations, conversational English teaches common phrases to help you interact in day-to-day life. The more you use it and hear it, the more you learn.