Many ESL learners have asked the question, “What if I am too shy to speak in English? How can I get better? I want to speak correctly, but it takes me a long time to make the sentence. By the time I tell people what I think, they are already bored.”
If this sounds like you or someone you know, there are things you can do. You don’t have to force yourself to do anything uncomfortable. You don’t have to speak with anyone you are not comfortable with. That would just stress you out. Instead try some of the following ideas.
Groups to feel comfortable speaking English
If you live in the Greater Seattle area, in Redmond, Bellevue, Kirkland, there are two community groups with activities for ESL learners. One of them is ELLA; the other is Turkcha.
Even though community colleges offer ESL classes, not everyone can enroll. Some test too advanced in their English. But that does not mean these ESL learners are fluent in spoken English. They too need a place to practice conversing in English.
Practice English in ESL Conversation Groups
ELLA provides conversation groups for adults. Some groups meet in the morning, some in the evening, and some meet for coffee. There is also a group for parents and children. This is helpful for parents who don’t want to find a babysitter. They have play time and meet with other parents and children from different countries.
Being in a relaxed environment is very helpful in language learning. If you feel comfortable, you will have an easier time starting conversations with others. Especially if you have something in common. And in these groups, one of the things you have in common is that you come to the U.S. from another country. You can share your experience when you first came to the U.S.. Just this topic alone would help you to connect to other immigrants.
Talk with International Friends in Turkcha
Another group is Turkcha. This wonderful group is started by an immigrant named Dilek Anderson. She understands what it’s like to move to a new country and start all over. Therefore, she started this group with the intent to help other immigrant women to feel more comfortable in this country. Her group has a variety of events that contributes to a sense of well-being.
The article How do I improve my English if I am afraid to speak goes into more details about this topic.
If you find this blog helpful, here is another one on How to find English conversation partners.
Estrella Chan coaches immigrants and international professionals in English fluency, interview skills, and public speaking. To schedule a session with her, please email email@example.com