Question of the Week: Studying in English

Inspired by a question on our Facebook page, and Tara’s recent post with tips for writing papers and giving oral exams, this week’s question is about studying in English when it’s not your native language.

How hard (or not) is it to keep up academically with American classmates?  What’s the most difficult part about studying in a non-native language?  If you’re currently in the US, did you find that you knew English well enough when you arrived to keep up?  If you’re thinking about studying here, do you think you speak well enough to get by?

Leave your answer in the comments by clicking “Read the rest of this entry.”

UPDATE: Check out your answers to the question of the week here: //


  1. I am a brazilian medical student and I’m applying to residency in Miami. In spite of my conditions don’t allow me to go to USA now (to improve my English) I’m trying to learn this language alone. Sometimes I think that is not possible, but I agree with Christopher, when he says: ” I believe passion is the most important thing in learning something.” There are many methods to learn English: watching movies in English, reading the Amercian literature, listening musics, talking to people on the internet in English… Therefore, three words are necessary in this context: patience, effort and passion.

  2. I’ve never been to any English-Speaking countries to learn English. But, I can have better English now just because of one thing: PASSION.

    I believe passion is the most important thing in learning something. It’s a strong feeling toward something. When you have the passion to learn English, you’ll do whatever it takes to improve your English. In my case, I learn new vocabularies every day and make as many sentences as possible for each new vocabulary. The process could be tedious, yet it’s fruitful. Besides that, I watch British or American movies without reading the text.

    I believe there lots of ways of learning English. All we have to do is find the way that suits our needs and stick to it. And of course, we can’t give up in what we’re doing.

    Happy learning

  3. I am a student in English faculty. At the first time when I came to the spaking class, I felt so nervous. My English is under average. But day after day I got the improvement. I tried to listen some English articles, read the magazines and speak with others friend. Of course, there’s must be have many mistakes but just try it. In my own, the most effective way to learn English is try to speak with others and listen or watch the British or American movie without read the text. And having a native speaker friend to discuss and sharing will be helper, too.

  4. I’ve been in the US since I was five, so I can’t really comment on how hard it is. But I do have some friends who are new to the country and from what I’ve seen, the hardest part is keeping up with the speed of the lectures and finishing all of the reading. Some professors talk incredibly fast, so it is hard for non-native speakers to follow and write down the important points he/she is saying. I’ve also seen my friends struggle with the amount of reading that is required. Because they tend to read at a slower pace, they often get done with the reading much slower, sometimes having to read it twice to understand it fully.

    It would be an excellent idea to go to your school’s office of minority affairs, or office for international students. At my school, they give out practice tests or previous midterms for international students to study from. They are definitely very useful.

  5. Everyone on this world was born tabularasa,it is through the social learning process that the child first get to know his/her local language.then after he/she is taken to school is that the teacher bombards english words into there empty the end of the day u wil here them speaking in english.So learning and speaking in english is not a big deal.Its the person having attitude towards it and socializing with the native students through displaying good character towards them.because weakness of character becomes weakness attitude.

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