We encourage U.S.-based companies to hire internationally and we focus on all those benefits us foreigners bring to an American office/studio/firm. We reassure them that non-Americans can stand head to head with the American candidates and that we bring an added bonus of a different viewpoint, skillset, and ambition. But all this could not be enough for the Company to consider you if at the interview you don’t understand them and it gets awkward.
So here are some tested methods to improve your understanding-while-listening skills.
Watch Movies in English with Subtitles in English
Everybody finds excuses to turn on subtitles – the audio is too quiet, the accent is too thick or the room is just too noisy. And you know what? That makes sense and not fully understanding a movie you were excited about would suck, so turn those subtitles on -no shame! However, don’t turn them on to your native language – you’ll learn to love them in English, especially because then they sync with the actors’ lips! That way your mind will get accustomed to matching the sounds to the words you read and you’ll start understanding spoken English more easily.
Listen to your Favorite English Songs and Learn their Lyrics
I don’t know anybody who doesn’t listen to popular English music because that’s what’s trendy and it works in your favor. You must have so many songs you love and sing along to but it’s more like mumbling because, let’s be honest, you don’t know the lyrics – just the sounds! This is a common phenomenon we all experience even with the songs in our native languages because in music there is little respect towards pronunciation and even less towards enunciation! So read the lyrics until you know them so well, you can hear them before they’re even sung!
Download and Listen to English Audiobooks
Start with books you’ve read in English because then you’ll know exactly which word is meant even if you don’t hear it clearly. Then move on to books you’ve read in your mother tongue, so you know what it’s about and listening to it in English will still make sense. Now that you’re a pro in understanding everything you hear, upgrade to listening to new books! Or if you don’t have the time to listen to whole books – try out podcasts! Pick a subject you’re interested in – for me it’s conspiracy theories and world history – and listen to conversations or monologues on the topic!
Make your Friends Speak to you in English
This one seems like it could be tough if you don’t have many English-speaking friends but here is the thing – they don’t even have to be English or entirely fluent. It’s not to teach you new words or grammar so even if their English isn’t the best, this still will help you. It’ll teach you to hear the word beyond the vocal pronunciation and find it’s meaning automatically. And trust me, having conversations with friends in a common new language before having to use it “in real life” is super important for your confidence later on!
I hope these recommendations are simple enough to remember and put into practice on the daily. Share your recommendations for learning English with us on our Facebook page!