Site of the Day — Read Listen Learn — The English Blog

The English Blog shares a great resource with Read Listen Learn. Read on to learn more:

Reading is one of the four main skills that learners of English need to improve (the others being Listening, Speaking, and Writing), but it’s not always easy to find interesting reading material at the right level. Most of the main EFL publishers have a range of graded readers (see here and here, for example), but…

via Site of the Day — Read Listen Learn — The English Blog

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Volunteering as an International Student

When people study abroad in America, they think of making friends, visiting new places, and learning the culture (and studying, of course!). The obvious answer is to gain those experiences through school and travel in the country you’re studying in. But have you ever thought of volunteering as an international student? Not only can you enjoy volunteer service, but it has many other benefits as well. As the article from International Student Blog says,

“the US also provides great volunteer opportunities that allow you to give back to the community. Volunteering as an international student will expand your horizons and introduce you to a new part of the US culture. Not only does volunteering help you meet new friends, but it shows potential employers or scholarship panels that you care about your community.”

Some of their volunteer suggestions include:

  • Working at a food pantry or soup kitchen
  • Tutoring students
  • Presenting about your country and culture at events or schools
  • Cleaning a beach or park
  • Walking or playing with dogs at a shelter

If none of those ideas interest you, then let’s start thinking about what other ideas would! The article offers 3 key points to help you find that interest (and do the research to find organizations or events you can participate in).

  1. Play to your strengths
  2. Gather information
  3. Figure out the “why?”

Continue reading here for the full explanation on the 3 points and more tips to volunteer as an international student in America.


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Writing Letters

Many English learners are familiar with writing essays for school or casual messages with friends. An often overlooked writing style is letters! Depending on the situation or need, a letter’s tone or vocabulary can be very different–formal, thankful, questioning, entreating, urgent, and so on. How can you write a letter to someone effectively to express the appropriate tone and get your point across? Here’s an interesting Android app English Letter Writing that can help you with that. As their page says, “English Letter & Application Writing Offline is completely free and offline English letters writing book with over 2000+ letters & applications for students in multiple categories.”

Recommended for intermediate to advanced learners (Levels 300 to EAP/800 and business students).


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Postcards Going Digital

Students studying abroad are focused on the new culture and schoolwork, but it’s also important to keep in touch with family and friends. Sure, there’s the usual way of emails, phone calls, videos, and messaging. But there’s another interesting way that people might not think of first–postcards. Especially with all the easy digital ways of communication, postcards are often overlooked. However, they have a charm to them–they capture the spirit of travel, exploration, and new experiences. Now, there’s a way to send postcards easily and digitally with the app TouchNote. This is done in 3 simple steps:

  1. Choose a photo
  2. Add a message and address
  3. They print and mail it anywhere in the world

ACE - touchnote

Especially language learners, try sending a postcard in English. Share new things you learned. It’s a great way to combine English practice and fun!


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Culture Shock!

Many people will feel culture shock when they study abroad. Especially for language learners, it can be stressful to adapt to the culture and school work. However, culture shock is a well-studied topic and there are many coping tips. “How to Deal with Culture Shock while Studying Abroad” by Mandi Schmitt is great article that explains how to overcome culture shock. For example:

1. Learn as much about your host country as possible

Read through travel forums, guidebooks, news reports, or novels. Talk to people who have been there or — better yet — are from there.

Get to know as much as you can about what’s considered polite or rude (for example, did you know it’s rude to step over someone’s bag in Madagascar?) and prepare yourself for some of the differences before you go.

2. Ask study abroad coordinators for advice

Specifically, ask them what other students have had a hard time adapting to and what they’ve done to cope. Each country has it’s own nuances, so you’re going to face a different situation in France as you would in Thailand. Ask those who know best!

3. Set learning goals for your study abroad trip

This may be obvious, but make sure you have goals for your study abroad trip, and make sure they include learning about your host culture. Do you love food? Make it a goal to learn how to cook a local dish.

4. Write down what you love when you first arrive, and look back later

During the honeymoon phase, write down all the things you love about your new host country (maybe even in your new study abroad blog?). Later, when you’re feeling frustrated or irritated, use this list to remind yourself of all the good things about your host country, instead of the things that annoy you.

5. Find a healthy distraction

Especially in stage two, when you may have negative feelings towards your host culture, find a healthy distraction. Take some time to yourself, watch an episode of your favorite TV show, cook a meal from home, or have a solo dance party in your house.

Continue reading the full article here.


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Preparing for Exams

The last week of Spring quarter is here, and so are final exams. It’s a stressful time, but there are ways to prepare for the exams. Check out this quick video for exam study tips! Click on CC for subtitles.

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Tips for Writing Under Pressure

One common final exam is writing, and that is coming soon with the end of our Spring quarter. Many students will feel a lot of pressure from writing paragraphs or an essay with a short amount of time. That’s why it’s important to learn how to handle that pressure. Here’s a great article from ThoughtCo. that shares how you can to do that:

“8 Quick Tips for Writing Under Pressure”

by Richard Nordquist

You have 25 minutes to compose an SAT essay, two hours to write a final exam paper, less than half a day to finish a project proposal for your boss.

Here’s a little secret: both in college and beyond, most writing is done under pressure.

Composition theorist Linda Flower reminds us that some degree of pressure can be “a good source of motivation. But when worry or the desire to perform well is too great, it creates an additional task of coping with anxiety” (Problem-Solving Strategies for Writing, 2003).

So learn to cope. It’s remarkable how much writing you can produce when you’re up against a strict deadline.

To avoid feeling overwhelmed by a writing task, consider adopting these eight (admittedly not-so-simple) strategies.

Continue reading here for the 8 strategies


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Vocabulary Builder

One of the first steps to fluency is learning more vocabulary. Try the Vocabulary Builder app to learn new words. The app has great support: audio pronunciation, definitions, different levels, progress tracking, and more. Recommended for all learners (Levels 100+).

ACE - vocab builder

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