One of the hardest transitions to moving
to a new country, is becoming used to the language and its usage in
your new home. Language barriers go deeper than just not being
able to read or write the language, but also to include problems
with understanding the slang terms in a language, as well as
difficulties understanding the different mannerisms that may
accompany spoken words to convey a thought or idea.
While there is no "fix-all" solution to
the language barriers you will face when coming to America, there
are a number of things you can do to make the process easier on
|Most people in the United States are
open and accepting to those who may not speak perfect English.
After all, our country is a melting pot of all kinds of different
nationalities and religions, so we (Americans) are all very used to
people who look, talk, and act different than us. As such,
don't be afraid to speak up or ask questions if you need to.
Asking questions can also be a great way to "break the ice" and get
to know a new person and maybe make a friend or two in the process.
In classes that you attend this can
be a two-sided advantage. Not only will asking questions and
speaking up when given the opportunity offer you the chance to learn
more easily, asking someone in your class if they can help you with
a problem on your homework is often the easiest and most common way
to meet someone new. Most
of your fellow students will not hesitate to offer their assistance,
all you need to do is ask!
Also, don't be offended if when
talking to someone they respond with a "can you say that again, I
didn't quite catch it." They're not trying to be rude, just
trying to understand what you are saying better so they can help
you. This tends to happen more if you have a particularly
strong accent from your native country. If someone asks you to
repeat yourself, just realize that they probably want to help you
and need to be able to understand exactly what you're saying before
they can do so!
Another great way that works for some
people to overcome the language barrier is listen to the radio or
watch TV. These two media forms, especially news programs on
them, are great ways to learn both visually and audibly the
different mannerisms and slang words in the American vocabulary.
Make sure that if you choose this option that you are watching
quality programming so that what you hear is actually worth learning
and will help you in your day-to-day communication.
Finally, if you're trying to write a
paper or type a letter or email to someone, and you just can't
figure out what the American English word is, there are a number of
website on the Internet which allow you to type in words, or even
entire papers and have them translated into hundreds of languages.
The website http://www.freetranslation.com/
allows users to type in anything they want, and then select which
language to convert it from, and which language they want it
converted to (i.e. English to German, or Japanese to Italian!)