Showing Archived Posts

  • Page 1 of 2
  • 1
  • 2
  • >

Blythe Explains Why Making Mistakes is Vital to Improving Your English

by Jessica Stahl - Posts (449). Posted Wednesday, June 19th, 2013 at 2:34 pm

Nick Hoang’s article about how he improved his English by immersing himself in American culture was one of our first, and remains one of our most popular (check it out if you haven’t – it’s well worth it). English teacher Blythe recently chimed in in the comments to give some additional thoughts for English learners. His […]

Posted in Learning English

Top Posts of 2012 #3: The Cultural Nuances of Language

by Jessica Stahl - Posts (449). Posted Saturday, December 29th, 2012 at 4:28 pm

In the few days before 2012 ends and 2013 begins, we’ll be looking back at some of our top posts from the past year, starting with number five and counting down to number one. If you missed these articles the first time around, now’s your time to see why we’ve found these particular pieces so […]

Anil Explains Why You Should Never Be Embarrassed to Speak a Foreign Language

by Guest Post - Posts (69). Posted Tuesday, December 18th, 2012 at 10:03 pm

Recently Sunny shared her story of arriving in the U.S. for the first time, and suddenly feeling she had forgotten all the English she ever learned – asking for the phone seemed an impossible task.  Anil wrote in to share a similar experience.  When he arrived at J.F.K. airport this fall, coming from Turkey to […]

Posted in Learning English

The US in Words #3: Buckle Up (and Other Adventures Driving in America)

by Paula - Posts (11). Posted Saturday, November 17th, 2012 at 9:25 am

The third in a series looking at U.S. life and culture through its idioms.  View previous entries. To buckle up = to put on a seat belt Because I teach English as a Foreign Language, and I’ve been constantly improving my language skills for over 20 years, I have always been pretty confident about my […]

Yustina Explains How Not to Tell A Friend That You’re Bored

by Guest Post - Posts (69). Posted Wednesday, November 14th, 2012 at 11:15 am

Earlier this week, Zita explained how Americans interpret the phrase “How are you?” and why they might react with surprise if you actually tell them how you are when they ask.  It’s not the first time we’ve heard about funny, frustrating, and even downright embarrassing English mistakes.  Take these, contributed by VOA intern Matthew Kupfer, […]

Posted in Learning English

Crafting Your Art of English Fluency

by Sava Mounange-Badimi - Posts (2). Posted Tuesday, November 13th, 2012 at 2:26 pm

When I came to the United States, I was barely fluent in spoken English, although on paper I seemed competent in the language. In fact, it turned out the English I had learned over the course of my middle and high school years was quite different from American English. When you’re not comfortably fluent in […]

Tags: , Posted in Learning English

The ‘Wrong’ Way to Answer ‘How Are You?’

by ZitaMF - Posts (4). Posted Monday, November 12th, 2012 at 9:26 am

- How are you? – Good. You? – Pretty good. – That’s good. This was an actual exchange between two students sitting at my table in the dining hall. When I heard it, I literally burst out laughing and quipped, ”Well, that was a meaningful conversation.” Maybe I was being a bit insensitive but, although […]

The Best Advice I Ever Got for Writing in English: ‘Treat the Professors Like Idiots’

by Sunny Peng - Posts (5). Posted Monday, October 22nd, 2012 at 5:29 pm

I will never forget my very first conversation with an American. He was an employee at Dulles Airport in Washington, D.C. I was a new arrival, highly exhausted after almost 20 hours of flight. Upon landing I found myself overwhelmed by homesickness, and very badly wanted to find a telephone to call my parents. I […]

Why the TOEFL is More Important Than Just One Test, and How That Can Help You Succeed

by Shree Raj Shrestha - Posts (5). Posted Thursday, October 11th, 2012 at 7:00 am

Editor’s note: Shree is currently in the process of applying to study in the U.S. for the fall of 2013. He’s agreed to take us with him on that process, recapping each step as he accomplishes it, and filling us in on what he did right and wrong so we can learn from his mistakes. […]

TOEFL Might Just Be the Last of Many Hurdles: Jawad’s Story

by Guest Post - Posts (69). Posted Tuesday, August 7th, 2012 at 12:26 pm

“I have always asked myself why people have made borders. Is it right that because my grandfathers lived in this land, it is mine and no one else has the right to live in it? Why do people want to get away from each other and differentiate themselves from one another? For example people say: […]

Do You Know the Meaning of These Words in Your Favorite Christmas Carols?

by Jessica Stahl - Posts (449). Posted Friday, December 23rd, 2011 at 3:42 pm

Many of you, including our own blogger Nick, have suggested using American songs as a way to practice English.  Well, the holiday season is filled with classic Christmas carols that are great for just that purpose. Some Christmas carols have been around so long that they use beautiful archaic language like “hither and thither,” which […]

Doing a Language Exchange When You Can’t Meet a Native Speaker: Germain’s Story

by Guest Post - Posts (69). Posted Monday, December 5th, 2011 at 12:49 pm

Germain is from Benin and is studying in France at Supméca-Paris for a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering.  As part of his studies, he is required to do a number of internships, and his current internship has brought him to a university in America for a semester.  He contacted me a few months before […]

Tags: Posted in Learning English

Just Because You Passed the Test Doesn’t Mean it Will Be Easy

by Jessica Stahl - Posts (449). Posted Tuesday, October 4th, 2011 at 1:17 pm

In this video, by a student in San Diego, international students talk about their biggest struggles when they first arrived in the U.S. For most, it was keeping up with English. If you like “kelzosaurus”‘s video, she has another on making friends, and one on culture as well.

Tags: , Posted in Learning English

Building Skills and Friends Through Language Exchange

by Chris Wong - Posts (9). Posted Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011 at 9:34 am

This summer I was fortunate enough to spend a couple of months in Taipei, Taiwan studying Mandarin Chinese at the International Chinese Language Program. It was a great experience and probably one my best summers ever – meeting new people, exploring a new place, and really improving my Chinese through intensive study. Some of my […]

Tags: , Posted in Learning English

Annoying, Infuriating, or Facts of Life, You Should Still Know These Americanisms

by Jessica Stahl - Posts (449). Posted Thursday, July 21st, 2011 at 12:59 pm

Over the past few days, the BBC has been ranting about what writer Matthew Engel called “ugly and pointless” ways American usage differs from British English. They even collected a list of 50 American words and expressions that Brits find annoying, irritating, and even infuriating. It includes things like: “Can I get a … ” […]

Tags: Posted in Learning English
  • Page 1 of 2
  • 1
  • 2
  • >

The Student Union is…

A place to hear stories about studying in the U.S. Our bloggers have come from all over the world to U.S. universities, and they'll be sharing their experiences, advice and more.

Learn more about this blog »

Share your own story!
Tell us about your experiences applying to the US, studying in America, or doing an exchange, and we may include it on the blog.

Explore

Glossary of Confusing Words

Find definitions of confusing words and terms about studying in the U.S. in our Glossary of Confusing Words.

All the words were submitted by YOU, so visit the glossary to see the words that have been defined already and to suggest your own.