“The limits of my language are the limits of my world.” - Ludwig Wittgenstein

These words of Ludwig Wittgenstein may resonate with you, if you are planning to study abroad and English is not your first language.

The medium of communication in most higher educational institutions in the US, UK, Canada, UAE and Ireland is English; and the extent to which you understand, and can communicate in this language is going to determine how easy or challenging your study abroad journey is going to be.

It is thus very important for you to improve your English skills.  However, it is not necessary to spend endless hours a day focusing on this. With some dedication and a routine, you can improve your skills by spending just an hour a day on this.

Where To Begin?

It is important that you focus on all the core skills required to learn a new language, i.e. reading, writing, listening and speaking. All four of these core aspects will help you not only improve your English communication, but will also help make your studies a lot easier. Allocate specific days to focus on each of these.

Reading Makes The World Go Round!

Get yourself a good book and start reading. Not only will this help you relax, it will also improve your language. Authors such as Jane Austin, George Orwell, Roald Dahl and Mitch Albom are some great authors to start with.

Keep a dictionary handy in order to look up words that you don’t understand and write them down in a book with the definition. Before your hour is over, take a couple of minutes to go through the new words and memorise them. Lastly, try to use them in conversations during the day to help you remember them.

Surround Yourself With English

Join a group such as TOASTMASTERS where you can spend time talking in English. TOASTMASTERS is an international non-profit organisation that will not only improve your English skills, but also build your self-confidence in public speaking.

If there isn't a TOASTMASTERS close to you, find an English native and ask them to help you. Spend time talking to them and ask them to correct you where you use the language incorrectly. Who said you can’t have fun while learning a new skill!

Discover Your Inner Author

Start penning down your thoughts, be it writing about your day or about a specific topic. This does not need to be a long essay, just something so that you can try your hand at writing. Once you are done, run the Microsoft Office spell checker or use a programme such as Ginger or Grammarly to look for spelling mistakes and grammar errors. Take note of the errors and recurring themes.

If you don’t like to write, then look for English textbooks for primary school children that focus on grammar. Working through these books will help you improve your grammar and vocabulary.

Practice Makes Perfect

Learning a new language or improving on an old one is usually not an easy task. Dedicate an hour a day to spend on the things discussed in this article and before you know it, you would have picked up on numerous new words and phrases.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask for help if you struggle with something. Lecturers are there to assist you. If you don’t want to ask them for help, then start a group for people who want to improve their English. With enough practice, communicating in English will become second nature to you.

Check out our blogs to find more helpful information related to studying abroad.

About the Writer: Lizan Gray, an adventurer at heart, is originally from South Africa and currently a copywriter in Dubai. She is busy finishing her degree in Business Administration.