Helping yourself learn English

The faster you learn English and adjust to thinking in English the more you will get out of your New Zealand experience.

Current and former Chinese students in New Zealand strongly agree that the most important factor in a successful New Zealand experience is English proficiency. You will need to be able to speak, read, write and listen in English while you live and study in New Zealand.

You should practise your English as much as possible as soon as you know you are coming to New Zealand. Go to English movies, listen to English programmes on the radio and watch English TV programmes – especially the news. Read a lot of English. New Zealand newspapers and magazines are available on the internet – (e.g. www.stuff.co.nz, www.nzherald.co.nz, www.cuisine.co.nz, www.unlimited.co.nz). You can also use the search term ESL in an internet search engine to access English Language Exercises.

It’s a good idea to have a good electronic dictionary. You should also have a good hard copy English language dictionary - one that gives clear explanations of English words such as Collins Cobuild or Longmans Language Activator.

In New Zealand you will learn English more quickly if you use the language. Don’t be afraid to speak and ask questions in English! Look at the possibility of joining the local library. There may be a charge for this.

Unless you are proficient in English you should take an English course, even if it is not a compulsory part of your required programme. The course will teach you about New Zealand as well as teaching you English.

Learning a language is difficult and can often be frustrating. But remember, the more effort you put into learning English the more you will get out of your New Zealand experience, so it’s well worth the effort.