Choosing to study English abroad is an excellent choice – especially if you have chosen to study the language in a metropolitan city like Washington DC. When you live and study at English language schools in DC, you will be surrounded by people from all over the world giving you a full global experience.
But, studying abroad isn’t just about learning the language or the culture, it is about getting to know people through a new form of communication. As you learn to speak English, you will develop new friendships. And, you will quickly learn these friendships not only help you master a new language in your intensive English program, they also enrich your life.
Friendships Help When You Feel Homesick
Did you know that people with friends tend to be healthier and live longer than their isolated peers? It’s been proven in several different research studies. This is another reason why you should prioritize developing friendships while you are abroad. It is normal to feel a little lonely and homesick in the beginning of your adventures abroad.
Rather than isolating yourself in your room, it is much better to get involved with others in your community, including other students at your language institute. It is the healthier choice. Spending time with friends will help you get past those moments of homesickness and loneliness. While your new friends will not replace your friends back home, these friendships will be just as valuable to your study abroad experience and your life. Fortunately, schools, like inlingua in Washington DC, offer students multiple chances to develop relationships with their peers, as well as social activities in the city after ESL classes.
Your Classmates Are Going Through the Same Thing
When you attend an exemplary Washington language school, like inlingua, you will be surrounded by peers who have also traveled from their home country to learn English abroad. They are in the same situation as you – away from their homes and their families. They are also probably hungry for friendships in this new place.
When you begin to interact with your classmates, you will discover that many of them are going through the same thing. They may also be dealing with loneliness or homesickness. Or, they may simply be looking to make new friends. Being in community with others makes it easy to foster a new relationship. You will find spending time with peers easier as you have a shared experience in the classroom.
You Will Learn About Other Cultures
Another great reason to develop friendships when studying English abroad is to learn about other cultures authentically. While you will be immersed in the culture of the town where you study, you will also be spending significant amounts of time with fellow students who come from all over the world. For example, inlingua students who study English in Washington DC represent over 60 different nationalities. A language institute is a great place to interact with dozens of cultures.
One of the best things you can do when you are abroad is to build friendships with those who are different than you. You will not only learn how to communicate with one another, you will also learn about what makes your peer’s cultures special and unique. This is a more meaningful way to learn about a culture than from just reading a textbook.
Your Friends Will Make You Feel More Comfortable Listening and Speaking
Anyone studying another language will tell you that the best way to become comfortable listening and speaking the language is to practice. Friends give you the opportunity to practice speaking and listening to English. Whether you are conversing with native English speakers or fellow language learners in your ESL class, you are getting vital chances to practice.
Additionally, true friendships are based on mutual trust and common interests. With true friends, you will feel comfortable trying to speak English versus trying to communicate in English with a stranger. This feeling of trust makes it a safe place to grow and learn.
They Will Help You Learn How to Speak English
Along these same lines, friends help you learn how to speak English through practice and gentle correction. The more opportunities you have to speak English, the more effective your intensive English program will be. As you become more comfortable with English and in your friendships, you will also begin to learn how to speak English like the locals. For example, you will begin to understand the differences between casual English conversation amongst friends and more professional English. You will learn slang terms and how to tell jokes in English (a clear sign you have learned the language).
The friends you make in your classes will be willing to practice and learn English alongside you. Plus, these friends can offer gentle correction when you misuse or mispronounce a word. You are more likely to appreciate correction from a friend than from someone you do not know or do not trust.
You Will Develop a Global Network
When you take English courses in Washington DC, you will be surrounded by people from all over the world. Language schools intentionally focus on helping students build relationships to form a global network. The people you meet while you study English in DC will represent a world far beyond your home country and DC. You should expect to study with people who look differently than you, speak differently than you, and live differently than you. And, if you allow yourself, you can learn a lot from these differences.
Having friends the world over is a beautiful gift. Imagine being able to contact a friend from your time abroad when you are traveling. You will have someone you know and trust to help you make your travel plans and maybe even a place to sleep! Moreover, if you relocate for a job, you can call upon your global network to help make the transition smoother.
When you chose to study English at inlingua, you will leave with more than English knowledge and competency. You will leave with an understanding of the world around you and a network of friends around the globe.