So, what can be done?
Build academic English skills from the beginning
Expanding academic English proficiency before setting foot overseas will help students join in an international classroom better on their first day. There are three big areas that any students are going to study abroad should be well prepared:
– Academic vocabulary: when students prepare for the English tests, they have typically successfully accumulated a certain amount of academic words. However, most of these words may not be used in everyday communication so students need a school context to practice. The more expansive and comprehensive their vocabulary is, the more they are able to interact with their peers in class, and gain more knowledge to various cultures, social circles and professional groups.
– Academic listening and speaking: In order to be engaged in the classroom, it’s important for students be able to communicate effectively with faculty members and classmates. This often requires language skills beyond daily expressions, which are often the focus of texts used in general English language programs. Students need to be able to speak in difficult situations, or about subject-specific content.
– Lastly but most importantly, academic reading and writing skills: Everyone knows reading is crucial in college life. The amount of reading a student must do could range from tens to hundreds of pages per week, depending on the requirements of their courses. Students need to be confident in having analytical comprehension of academic texts, stories and literature. In addition, writing in international environments doesn’t require essays only. Depends on the subject, students are asked to write in different styles: from narrative, assignment, dissertations, researches, presentations…