Does Study Abroad Help You Speak English? How Much Does It Help?

Many people think that their English ability will improve if they do a homestay while studying abroad. How much will your English improve after experiencing a homestay? Here, I will talk about the relationship between homestay and English.

English will not improve dramatically

 Your English will not improve rapidly within short-term study program

Occasionally, some people think that knowing a two-week or one-month homestay will dramatically improve their English proficiency. However, if you can speak English to that extent, you will not have any trouble.
If you do a homestay, you will get some effect. However, that does not mean that English will be fluent in a short-term homestay, and just because you have a one-month homestay does not mean that you will pass the Eiken 1st grade or get a TOEIC score of 990.

 You will get used to English environment

However, if you do a homestay, you will be able to experience the English in the field. In Japan, where there are still few opportunities to use English, there are few opportunities to come into contact with native English.
Homestay can solve that problem. By living surrounded by native English, you can realize how fast the natives speak, how they pronounce it, and so on. This is the real pleasure of homestay.

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Which part of English will be improved?

 Listening and speaking

If you take an Eiken or TOEIC test, you will find that there are four departments in English: listening and speaking, writing and reading. Basically, it is said that homestay gives you the power of listening and speaking. Living in English does not mean that you are directly good at writing and reading.
Living in English means that you have to listen to the English of your family, so naturally you will have the ability to listen. And because we talk, we also have the power to speak. As I mentioned earlier, homestay does not mean that these powers will increase dramatically. However, it is quite possible to make some changes depending on our efforts.

 You still need to try

Others believe that homestay will unconditionally improve your listening and speaking skills. However, just doing a homestay does not give you strength.
There are many people who have had the experience of staying in their own room while staying in a homestay, or being unable to speak English at all even if something was said by their family. Even if you do a homestay, you will not be able to speak English unless you actively talk to your family. Homestay does not mean that you will be able to speak English magically.

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It’s okay to make mistakes

 Speaking to your host-mother is important and easy

If you are going to stay in a home with a host brother or sister, be sure to talk to your host mother. This is because if you are a host mother who has experience raising children, it is more likely that you can basically understand even the “unfamiliar English” spoken by your child. They also tend to be patient and try to understand, even if they don’t get through once.
People often think, “My English is as good as a child, so I might be able to talk to a child,” but this is not always true. First of all, when a child hears the other person’s story, he or she often refuses to understand it anymore if he or she does not understand it at once.
When you talk to a child, you talk with the adults around you so that the child can understand. As a result, Japanese elementary and junior high school students who are not confident in English often talk to local children and are shocked by the expression “What are you talking about?” is.
To avoid such a shock, be willing to talk to your host mother.

 You can try it several times

However, no matter who you are, whether you are a host mother or not, you are still studying English, so it is natural to make a mistake. Rather, even if you speak Japanese, which is your mother tongue, it is common for everyone to make a good mistake or to be unable to express well and not be able to communicate with the other person.
So don’t be ashamed if you make a mistake in the foreign language English. Since I am trying to study a foreign language, I cannot learn a foreign language unless I make a mistake. When speaking English, look at the other person’s facial expressions. If you think you don’t understand, just rephrase.

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Don’t be afraid of host-families

Many children who experience homestay are worried about what to do if they make a mistake in English and what to do if they think they are strange children. However, the host family does not think that Japanese children who come to homestay are English fluent. Rather, I think of them as “children who can’t speak English yet but are trying hard to study.”
So you don’t have to be scared of your host family. If you make a mistake, you can make a mistake, and if you notice a mistake, you can just laugh. I’ve experienced it several times at home, but I’ve made countless blushing mistakes, and now it’s a funny story.
If you have the opportunity, try a positive homestay. Get in touch with foreign cultures and it will be a lifetime memory.

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