While almost 20% of our au pairs are native English speakers, over 80% of you are living and working in a second language – English! It can be difficult to live your life in a whole different language, but immersion is truly the best way to become fluent. Follow our tips, and soon enough, you'll even be dreaming in English!
1. Spend time with Americans
The absolute best way to improve your English is to use it in conversation with native speakers as much as possible. Participating in our Au Pair USA program is unique in that you are automatically living with an American family, so this step is part of your daily living. You can be happy knowing that just by being an au pair, you'll improve your English!
2. Say "yes" to invitations
If someone invites you to a social event, go! Even if it's loud and hard to understand people, don't be intimidated. Bring your sense of humor, smile and talk to others!
3. Give yourself time to learn
It can be hard for people learning a new language. You will make mistakes, and may feel embarrassed. Do your best not to worry about the mistakes. It's a part of the learning process! People will respect you for making an effort and help you improve.
4. Don't spend all your time with friends who speak your native language
Spend some of your time with people who only speak English. Of course, we encourage you to spend time with other au pairs, but try not to spend time ONLY with friends from your home country. This is your year to learn new things!
5. Use free time to learn at your own pace
It can be exhausting to be around others all the time, especially when you're navigating a new culture and language. Even though the best way to learn English is to spend time with English speakers, you'll want time alone as well.
Time alone can be used to improve your English, too. Consider renting movies and try putting English subtitles along with the English soundtrack. This is a great way to make understanding easier, while still sticking to English.
You can do this using YouTube as well. If you like a particular English song, try searching for the song with lyrics! This way, you can read the words as you listen to the song. You can take time to look up any words you don't understand.
We hope that these tips help you to practice your English skills! Your English will improve dramatically during your time here, and InterExchange Au Pair USA wishes you the best of luck with the challenge!