How to Learn English Before Coming to America
Your trip to the ‘land of the free’ is booked, and your bags are packed, but there’s something else you’ve got to think about if you want to make the most of your experience in the U.S.:
Do you know how to learn English before coming to America?
While there are many languages spoken throughout the USA, it’s always good to have your English skills prepped and ready to go-it’ll be your key to open doors as you travel in the States and to other English-speaking countries as well.
There are different ways to optimize your study time and learn English before coming to America, and we’ll look at some interesting methods that can help you before you arrive!
But first, let’s see why we think learning English for travel to the US is so important!
Should You Learn English Before Coming to America?
One of the first things most travelers search before going to a foreign country for the first time is Do I have to learn [language spoken in destination] before I get there? We worry and wonder:
Will they understand me when I ask for a restaurant or to use a phone or try to find the bathroom?!
It’s best to try and learn at least basic greetings and requests, as well as polite phrases and common questions, before traveling to any country, and doing so will only enhance your experience in the United States.
It’s a pretty big country, and you’ll be able to navigate your way through it much easier if you learn English before you arrive. Plus, you’ll have an easier time meeting new friends along the way!
And finally, you never know when you’ll need to use a bit of English in an emergency, so it’s better to be safe and prepared than sorry!
So, how can travelers learn English before coming to America?
Build Up Travel Related Vocab and Phrases
If you’re going to be traveling, what should you probably start learning before coming to America?
Well, it makes sense to brush up on some English travel vocabulary so you have a bunch of words and phrases that apply specifically to the situations you might find yourself in when roaming about. Location-specific vocabulary, like those often used in restaurants or on airport signs, will also help!
Write these vocabulary words down on flashcards with the definition on the reverse side of the card or, ideally, a picture that shows what the word means. If you have the Anki App, you can search for a virtual flashcard deck of Travel English words so that you don’t have to carry the cards with you.
Then, practice using these words in sentences with friends, or say them out loud to yourself as you travel through locations in your own city. This will help you grow more comfortable and gain confidence with the full sentences needed to make statements and requests when you come to America.
If you don’t have English-speaking friends to practice with and you’re looking for a bit of feedback, keep on reading the next step!
Meet Some People from the U.S. and Practice Before You Come
You’ve got a list of English vocabulary for traveling, and you’ve been practicing aloud with yourself by naming places and objects as you travel in your own city.
But are you completely sure you’re pronouncing the words and phrases correctly?
Check out the HelloTalk app!
You can create a free account, fill in your profile (make sure to let other users know you’re traveling to America soon), and speak to real people from the United States using text or voice messaging on your phone. This will let you practice your travel vocabulary and key phrases with a native speaker, and they can also give you recommendations on places to visit when you’re there.
When you’ve got a good list of locations to see and recommended restaurants to eat at, jump on to a travel forum or review site like Yelp or TripAdvisor to get more information and decide if they interest you.
Remember that you can always head back to HelloTalk to have any follow-up questions answered in English before you come to America or after you arrive!
There is one downside to this app that I myself have experienced, however:
It can sometimes be challenging to find a partner willing to practice consistently with you, as there is no real incentive to keep them involved if they decide to stop speaking.
Luckily, there’s an even better way to get feedback from native speakers who are always ready to practice whenever it’s convenient for you!
Learn Online from a Qualified Native Instructor
It’s important to note that on apps like HelloTalk, you might receive feedback or corrections that simply are not correct. Yes, this can be from native speakers who are unaware of the proper grammar rules or pronunciation of words-no one is perfect, and it happens!
But for travelers who want to learn English before coming to America, your best bet is to take lessons with a certified instructor who is much more likely to give you the correct answer the first time, so you don’t waste your days before the big trip practicing the wrong things!
Plus, many English-language learners travel to America for business purposes, and a trained English teacher can provide you with structured English lessons for Business Correspondence that will help you ask questions, understand answers, clarify information, and avoid overall confusion in your professional interactions!
[schedule a trial lesson today]
Learn English Before Coming to America: Final Tips
So, you’ve made a list of English words and phrases for traveling, you’ve reviewed and practiced them with native speakers on a free app, and you’ve even taken awesome lessons with a professional English instructor via Skype.
What more can you do?
Well, you can take a deep breath, put a smile on, and relax-there are many friendly folks in the U.S. that will be willing to listen carefully to understand your questions and statements so they can help you out!
And just like I’ve seen locals’ faces light up in countries like Spain and China when I attempted a foreign word or phrase for the first time, you’ll see many Americans react the same way.
After all, it’s the effort you put into learning English before coming to America that counts!