Compared to someone who knows no English, you already know a lot. You can read this page, for example. Remember, you have a good head start: Japanese has more English words than any other language (apart from English, of course). That means you already know hundreds and hundreds of English words in katakana. Build on what you know and try to improve a little each day.
Practice makes perfect
Learning a language is like learning to play a musical instrument – to improve, you need to practise every day. And music is for playing and enjoying – so, have fun speaking and communicating in English! Imagine you are studying music: to play well and graduate, you need to practice for an hour or more each day, at least. If you do the same for English, you will be able to speak very well by the time you graduate.
- Think of learning English like learning the to play piano: practise every day to improve
- If you never practise the piano, it’s impossible to play
Use it or lose it
To speak a language well, you must use it – as often as possible:
- Practise speaking English to yourself
- Try to think to yourself in English, for example on the bus or train
- Describe the people you see, or what you’re going to do today
- Practise speaking English with your friends
- Meet your friends for tea or coffee and practise speaking English for fun
Train your brain
Set yourself a target to improve your English each year you are at university. Improve a little each day, and you will improve a lot by the time you graduate:
- Set aside some time to study English each day
- If you commute to university by bus, train or subway, use your time to learn English
Don’t worry about making mistakes
As in life, making mistakes is an important part of learning a language – so don’t worry, just keep talking!
Be cool at school
Impress your friends with your fluency in English, whatever your major:
- Learn in class
- Use your time with your teacher to improve your English
- Learn outside class
- Don’t think of your class as the only time you learn – try to improve your English outside class, too
Make friends with the international students on campus
Practise your English on the international students at Fukuoka University – they want to talk to you!
- Ask them about their country and tell them about Japan
Watch TV and movies in English
Movies are a great way to listen to spoken English – and they are available everywhere – watch as many as you can:
- Switch to English sound when you watch English programmes or movies on TV. This might be difficult at first, but gradually you will understand more
- Watch a movie several times – you will understand more each time
- Try to repeat what the actors say
- As well as movies, watch the news in English at cnn.com
- NHK shows English news early each morning. Watch the news each day, and you will make great progress in your understanding for TOEIC
Read a book, magazine or newspaper in English
Whether Harry Potter or William Shakespeare, read a book in English – there are thousands to choose from!
- Read an English magazine
- If you love fashion, read an English fashion magazine; if you love sport, read a sports magazine in English. You will learn a lot of vocabulary about your interest
- Read a newspaper
- The Japan Times is available everywhere and is easy to read
- Fukuoka University Library has many English newspapers
- Read the news in English online
- Try bbc.co.uk for English news
Write a diary in English
Like Samuel Pepys and Bridget Jones, write a diary in English – about what you do each day, your thoughts and feelings. This will help you improve your writing greatly.
Listen to English music and radio
Listen to your favourite British or American bands – they can help you learn English!
- You can listen to English music on the web at www.bbc.co.uk/radio1/
- Download a podcast for mobile English
Study abroad or take a trip
English is the international language that makes it possible for you to communicate with people in other countries. Get your English ready for a trip or study abroad:
- Practise for your trip
- It will be easy to meet people if you can speak a little English
- Fukuoka University has several study abroad programmes. If you can, study in another country – you will learn many things and have the time of your life
Finally, what about after university? What can English give you?
English is a key to the world and knowing English can help you get the job you want. English gives you:
- Communication skills
- An international dimension
- Awareness of other cultures
- Opportunities to work and travel abroad
And the ability to communicate with the world