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Doodle Nandi

Doodle Nandi is a content editor for Hotcourses India- an IDP company, and helps write articles that help students with their study abroad journey.


04 Apr 2018 2.3K Book icon 4 mins Share

This is what happens when you don’t know English while studying abroad!

The basic mode of instruction at the majority of institutes abroad is in English. That leave Indian students with no choice but to know the language, and know it well!

04 Apr 2018 2.3K Book icon 4 mins Share
Doodle Nandi

Doodle Nandi is a content editor for Hotcourses India- an IDP company, and helps write articles that help students with their study abroad journey.


Share this article
Learn English to study abroad

When people step out of their comfort areas and start living in some other part of the world, which is completely alien to them, they often think of language as the most common barrier.

A student from any part of North India might find it difficult to adjust in South India (and vice versa), owing to the language differences. However, it’s easy to survive, in either place, provided the student knows how to resolve those barriers.

We all know that English being the mother of all languages is an effective mode of communication for students who are non-native speakers, regardless of wherever they go. Such students when they go to a foreign country for a degree, find communicating in English language as the only medium of survival.  

So the question ‘why should I bother learning English when I’m looking ‘just’ to study abroad?’ has an easy answer –  

You may score well in your IELTS and TOEFL exams, but still struggle with the day-to-day English. You may also wonder if it’s really important to take the language seriously. Just ask yourself: If I’m not going to try improving my English basics, how am I going to sit in the classrooms listening to the teachers? And how am I going to understand what they say?

What will you lose if you don’t know English when looking to study abroad?

  • Imagine you want to apply to a university abroad, and you want to speak to a study abroad counsellor who can help you in the process. The first thing they would want to know is ‘Do you know English?’ If you say a blunt no, it won’t take you far. So just try!
  • You might take up IELTS or TOEFL coaching classes, and pass the exams with good scores, good enough to bag you an offer. But the real challenge will be to ace the visa interview. If the visa officer finds you fumbling between words, then there are chances your visa may get rejected.

  • Most importantly, once you land in the foreign country, your life is bound to change. You may meet some people from your country and converse in your mother tongue, but it will not help once you step onto the university campus.
  • Majority of classes and internships will require you to have a basic understanding of English language. If you don’t make an attempt to learn it, then how are you going to pass your exams?
  • The job offers that you get will demand good communication skills, and only in English. So if you are looking at working in the country where you complete your studies, you must work hard for it. However, the job offers that you get in your home country will also require 80% of your communication to be in English.
  • You need not be a pro! That doesn’t exist. Only when you practice, you become close to a pro. However, you must understand and learn the language basics to sustain wherever you go.
  • Learning English for your abroad studies doesn’t mean that you need to master the language, talk with an accent or use vocabs like ‘farrago’.

What will you gain if you don’t know English when looking to study abroad?

  1. You will not be attentive in classes.
  2. You will not build relationships with faculty and peers.
  3. You will miss internship opportunities.
  4. You will not be able to strike a deal with potential employers.
  5. Worse still, you will not pass exams.

Can you think of a few more reasons…?

Though English isn’t the official language of many countries, people all over the world understand it. So it’s a necessity for you to learn and hone it when you are looking for a degree abroad. It makes sense!

As per the Encyclopaedia Britannica, there are 1000 million English-speaking people across the world, so it’s quite natural that you need to know certain nuances of the language.

Learn to use simple words and phrases, but create a strong foundation. Reading is one way of improving your English basics. Grab a copy of Stephen King's On Writing, instead starting with The Elements of Style

Knowing the basic differences between certain words, say when to use it's and its and when to use affect and effect, will help. Also, make sure when you write you know the subject-verb agreement in your sentences, learn to use hyphens and commas and stay away from dangling modifiers. Because when you don't follow these basics, your writing will fall apart. 

There are plenty of resources that help you read and speak well in English. Also, by following certain dictionaries, you will understand when and how to use certain words; one such dictionary is Merriam Webster.

Some universities abroad offer ‘Intensive English language’ programmes, which aim at helping international students build their confidence through academic English programmes, and also help them proceed to an advanced course at the same or a different university.

As far as writing in English is concerned, it can be mastered only with patience and practice. William Zinsser, who authored On Writing Well, says that learning to write is like learning carpentry – only when your tools are sharp and you know how to use your tools, you can build something concrete. Similarly, only when you sharpen the basics of grammar and syntax, you can create a good piece of content in English.  

What’s your take now? Want to lose or gain? Do you want to sharpen your English skills or start from scratch when looking to study abroad? Or are you willing to let it go, and leave it on time to decide if it works in your favour?

Our counsellors can help you find answers to your questions. They have dealt with students who earlier used to shy away from expressing their English skills, but with time they have built confidence. Now, those students feel good about the decision they took. Why don’t you too take a chance? It's not a rocket science, though!

Want to study abroad?

Harjeet Kaur Harjeet Kaur,
IDP Expert
We can help you apply and study at top Universities abroad. Get in touch with us to get free advice!