My name is Leping and I am from China. I am currently a Chinese Ambassador for Florida Tech and I have been sharing my experience with other Chinese students interested in attending Florida Tech.
One of most frequently asked questions that non-English speaking international students who are planning to study in the States ask me is, “How hard is it to learn in a different language?” I started learning English when I was 10 years old, so that would be 10 years before I started studying at Florida Tech. Most of you would say “Wow, that is such a long time, you must have been ready to study in English when you came to FIT.” Well, I would say, that is not entirely true, because I didn’t live in an environment where people were using English every day around me in China, so there was still a learning curve when I came here.
I remember when I first started learning English, I thought it was just the words that were different from Chinese language. I started focusing on all the words and tried to remember them, but I found that is not all that learning English all about. There is grammar, listening skills and writing as well. Vocabulary is just the beginning of the whole process. Most importantly, you have to use it; it is not just for English testing at school.
My journey from China to studying abroad at Florida Tech was both exciting and nerve-racking. At first, I did have problems understanding the courses I was taking at the time. I received a pretty bad grade on my first quiz. I was worried, and I went talk to the professor to seek some help, and he was so nice and willing to help. Dr. Shenker, who was my instructor for my Bio 2 class also gave me some good advice, such as, using a recorder, previewing the materials before the class and talking to him after the so we can work things out together. That advice really worked and I got much better on the following tests.
Besides the assistance from professors, FIT also provides quality English classes that can meet all levels of English that international students need. ESL, which is a series of English courses that are specifically designed for students whose second language is English, contains reading, grammar, listening and speaking classes every semester. It was very helpful for me. The professors are always encouraging and helping me to learn English better. It was also very fun because we had some great group subjects, movies and exciting competitions! It provide a great environment to really excel in your English speaking skills.
Learning English isn’t as hard for me anymore. When you study abroad, you are able to immerse yourself in the language since you read it, speak it and of course hear it every day. There is nothing to worry about when first learning English. Just go out and talk to your new friends and professors in English, and in the meantime, enjoy the fun and confidence that English can bring to you.