Foreign exchange students in an English class.

3 Ways You Can Help a Foreign Exchange Student Learn English

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As a former foreign exchange student myself, I know that studying in a faraway country is quite the challenge, and I only studied in England where there was no language barrier! This transition is even more difficult for students who aren’t already proficient in English, but learning this language is essential for them to succeed in any English-speaking country. There are many resources out there for foreign exchange students to use so they can learn how to write and speak English even if their school doesn’t offer intensive english classes as part of their curriculum. Here are a few options that you can present to foreign exchange students, so they can choose how they want to proceed with their English lessons and excel in their chosen field.

Try a reputable online course.

As with anything nowadays, the first place you should look for English lessons is online. Some courses cost several hundred dollars, but you can also look for free English classes online because there is an abundance of great organizations that provide in-depth lessons at no cost. One of the most popular English online courses is through a company called ALISON, which offers a free diploma in basic English grammar and a free course in conversational English, among quite a few other advanced courses. Another source for free English lessons is ABA English, which features video classes and interactive grammar lessons designed to help foreigners learn how to speak English.

Try a university course for one-on-one learning.

Another option is to find online English courses through a university. A foreign exchange student can enroll in these online courses even if they are not physically attending the university itself. These classes will usually cost a few hundred dollars, but they will be led by a professionally trained instructor who knows exactly how to show non-native speakers how to learn English. 

If you are trying to advise a foreign exchange student on which route to take, you should evaluate the student’s current level of proficiency in English. If they have a good grasp of the basics, and you think they would be comfortable enough guiding their own learning, a free online course is a great option. But if their basic English is lacking, you probably want to encourage them to take a teacher-led course, so they have the opportunity to ask questions and learn one-on-one with a professional. 

Real life practice helps too.

In addition to helping your foreign exchange student find an online English course, you can also help them by simply conversing with them in English or setting them up with a “conversation partner.” Many universities have this program that helps foreign students learn English and helps English-speaking students learn another language! Even if there is no program like that around you, you can reach out to student organizations or individual students in your area to see if anyone has any interest in helping out. Foreign students can learn to master the basics of written English online, but having the opportunity to practice their spoken English with a native English speaker will increase their fluency immensely. 

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