Topic: A new way to practice speaking English
About two weeks ago, I became desperate to improve my speaking ability and started thinking about how I could speak fluently.
I came up with 4 ways which were: hiring a tutor, joining study groups, language exchange and online schools.
Now let’s examine and evaluate each of method.
First, I found that the cost of hiring a tutor is around 600 dollars per hour. This’s much too costly for students and I couldn’t afford it.
Well, How about joining study groups?
Although there were a lot of study groups which wanted new members and posted their information on PTT, every time I applied I didn’t receive any response. Also, I’m dubious about the quality and efficiency of study groups.
As for language exchange, it might be a good idea because not only is it free, but we can also choose whatever topic we want to discuss. Such a relaxing method was appealing to me. But the major difficulty was I didn’t have any foreign friends, so first I needed to find a foreigner who willing to language exchange with me, make friend with him and organize a time when we’re both free. I speculated that would be a tiresome procedure.
And the last choice – Online schools
The cost was about 300 dollars per hour for one-on-one teaching and I loved the convenience of attending classes whenever and wherever I wanted via Skype. The only disadvantage was there was still a cost involved, and I preferred free method, if possible.
So I strived to find a new way that combines the benefits of language exchange and online schools, free relaxing, and easily accessible.
Finally, I discovered language exchange websites.
On these websites, many users from different countries post their basic information, as well as what language they want to exchange and their preferred method. An appropriate language partner can be found easily by setting search conditions.
After I sent requests to several people, an Australian student who agreed to be my language partner, and we both wanted to practice vocal conversations via Skype.
I thought I found a good idea to practice speaking English, because I could finally practice with someone at no charge and without topic and area limitations.
We made a deal to separate our chat time into two equal parts, one for Chinese and the other for English. I was excited to make my first call. She was very talkative and her Chinese is also quite good, so I felt relaxed and we took a wonderful time together. But after talking several times, our topics became fewer and fewer because we got to know each other.
I was aware that we needed to find some topics that not only are meaningful and motivating to us, but also link to difficult issues that we could practice using comprehensive vocabulary.
Eventually, I thought of a good topic – interview questions. I found a batch of question lists online with questions such as ‘Why should we hire you?’ and ‘Give an example of showing how you worked on a team.’
Answering those tough questions was a big challenge for us, especially using an unfamiliar language. However, this was also a rare opportunity for us to speak in an organized way.
I knew it’s beneficial for me, as I have ample time to train myself on how to answer these important questions which moreover improve my English ability to express complex concepts before a real interview.
We gave each other advice and encouragement, and we improve together. I made progress in English, and also gained a valuable friend who teaches me about a different culture.
I think if you want to practice English, make new foreign friends and you prefer to help others rather than pay, language exchange websites with interview questions would be your top choice.