Learning the English language and actually using it in a country where it is the native tongue are two distinct issues that most people overlook. This often enough leads to a culture shock that can make even the best of students lose confidence and speak in a way that would be hard to understand.
To avoid this there are several things you can do but before we look at solutions let’s look at the problem more closely. Learning the English language is a well-defined process and regardless of the approach, if a basic plan is followed any student will end up speaking a convincing form of the language in a relatively short time.
Experiencing A Culture Shock Is No Laughing Matter
The problem comes when you actually have to use your newly acquired knowledge in a context that takes you out of your comfort zone. When you have to make sense, be understood and understand native speakers or when you have to communicate in front of crowds things get more complicated. If you haven’t exercised this aspect of the learning process or if you haven’t had the chance to actually talk to a native English speaker, the combination of accent, tonality and vocabulary can make it quite difficult. Even basic concepts and words that you would otherwise easily comprehend in class or during a learning session can become insurmountable obstacles.
Use What You Learn To Avoid A Culture Shock
In order to avoid this common yet widely ignored problem the key is not to postpone using what you learn. Most students excel at the process of learning English and yet never actually use what they learn outside of the classroom. This is why alternative learning techniques and thinking outside the box can help you have a better understanding of the language.
Any student that aims to be a fluent speaker or, even more, any student that wants to move to an English speaking country should have a pen pal, a friend or an online group where he could use his new skills and practice the language with other native speakers. He will progress much faster and won’t be caught off guard when he actually has to use his newly acquired language.
Another thing that you should try to do in order to avoid a culture shock is to be up to date with the current events and jargon of the English dialect you choose to learn. Let’s say for example you were planning to take a trip to England. You can bet that the English you learned in class and the one spoken by the natives won’t match up so in order to avoid a culture shock try to understand some of the jargon and slang terms that are being used. Also try reading a local newspaper. This will keep you up to date with current events and also provide a worthwhile exercise.
For more jargon info try to watch some stand-up comedy routines, listen to music or even read some entertainment magazines which have a less serious tone than a newspaper.