ESL International Student Experience


The ESL program is offered to international student hoping to learnEnglish as their second language. The objective of learning Englishas a second language is to help an individual develop the confidenceto use English in expressing themselves, develop the necessary skillsneeded to participate fully in all aspect of education. The endresults of learning English are been able to master and applydifferent skills such as reading, writing, conversation and grammar(Zimmerman, 2010). My experience as ESL student dates back to severalyears when I arrived in United States knowing only a few Englishwords. My first day in class, was the worst, I couldn’t comprehenda single word, and I felt like running away. I was later to learnthat had I followed this feeling I would never have learned tocommunicate in English

The second day in English class we were given an English placementtest up to date I don’t recall what I wrote in the paper but itlanded me on group C that was for a really bad or poor in English. Iwas determined to learn English so that I could fit in the society.Like most international students who have to deal with cultural andpersonal problems not being able to communicate in English was theworst experience ever (Gonzalez, 2004). What made the situation worsewas the fact that most American including my tutors tends to have anotion that one at least knows the basics while as I couldn’t evencount my change. I felt helpless, and I couldn’t walk on thestreets alone. All in all, I believe that learning English is amixture of frustration and happiness. You get frustrated when tryingto use what you learnt in class and it comes out all wrong, and everyattempt to use a new vocabulary is disastrous. While as, on the otherhand, you are happy because you now can at least communicate withothers and create new bonds of friendship.

One of the methods that I used to master the English language wasconversation I tried to encourage my friends to use English whentalking to me. My friends were very supportive and patient with meallowing me time to speak, correcting my pronunciation mistakes andteaching me new vocabularies. I didn’t feel embarrassed when I mademistakes we laughed at it as if it was a joke then one of my friendswould tell me how it said. At school, most of my group members arestill my friends up to date we encouraged and supported each otherwithin no time we started sharing stories in English. Our tutor thusused the following methodology in teaching us which involved focusingentirely on the English language teaching. Grammar transation whichinvolved learning translation of English words memorizing and keepingvocabularies. And audio-lingual this involves a lot of dialogue forstudent to practice talking in English.

Learning to write in English was no easy task, this is becausewriting format, organization and style was totally new to me. Thegood news is my tutor was very helpful and trained me how to organizemy thoughts and ideas and describe them in a different paragraph inorder to make it easy for the reader to understand what I was talkingabout. Writing required me to stop thinking in my native language anduse English to think.

When it came to reading, my tutor advised that I always have adictionary with me to check up new vocabulary. Understanding themeaning of vocabularies helped me to understand the content of what Iwas reading (Lester, 2011). I was determined to master English so Ipractically carried a pocket dictionary and read every article Icould get my hands into.

Participating in co-curriculum activities such drama clubs anddebates are some of my best moment in school. In the drama club, weacted shakes spear plays among others and learned a lot about theAmerican culture. Our tutor encouraged us that understanding theAmerican people culture would help us think like them and thus makeit easy to learn English (Bordonaro, 2014). During debates, we wouldchoose a current issue or pretend to be members of the house ofcongress passing a motion. I have to admit that I learned more fromthese activities than I ever did in class.

My tutor assessed our English proficiency by administering ContinuousAssessment Test. And always took time to advise us on which areas toimprove on (Brownlie et al. 2004). Every student was encouraged todraw a progressive curve indicating the improvement one was making.As I observed mine, I could tell that within a short time I hadtremendously improved on my English skills. I could confidentlyaddress people, write letters to my friends and even participate in aconversation. The fear I once felt when walking on the streets alonedisappeared.

Learning English as a second language is a wonderful experiencehowever this is not to say that it is an easy road on the contrary itrequires the tenacity of weed and determination of an ant to attainyour goals. I learned that patience and persistent are very vitalwhen learning English especially in a foreign country. Without thesetools to support you learning English becomes a difficult task. Thegood thing about learning English is one can travel to differentparts of the world and be sure to find an English speaker wherever heshe goes for in most countries English is a second language.

In conclusion, blending in my new school was not difficult I realizedthat adversity brings people together. I further came to learn thatam not the only one who was scared on the first day to school most ofmy classmate were too. Not only did I learn English language but alsolearned a lot about most of my classmates culture and their greetingsto. Thus, my ESL learning experience was a wonderful andunforgettable experience.


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