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Friday, April 13, 2012

English Camp

Ray Yeh

Last summer vacation, I did a meaningful thing; I attended the Intensive English Program. I have always been interested in English, so I applied for the program. I enjoyed the program and learned a lot from the program.

All photos by the author

Before I entered the program, my English level was B1. I joined the Intensive English Program because I wanted to improve my English skill. I was determined to increase my level to B2 in a short time. When you want to learn a language, the environment is an important factor in your success. All the participants in the Intensive Program were passionate about learning English and able to communicate with each other in English. We had the same goal and helped each other improve.

I was impressed by the teaching in the program. The teaching in the program not only focused on English test skills but also emphasized real English abilities. The teachers were excellent, and they all had their own style. They trained us in all language skills including listening, reading, speaking, and writing. The teachers shared some useful learning tricks with us, too. With these useful tricks, we could answer the listening and reading questions more easily.

We had a lot of opportunities to speak English. We answered questions, discussed in groups, and even gave a presentation. For the writing skills portion of the training, we practiced writing an essay. After we wrote the essay, the software we used gave us feedback. We learned how to improve our writing skills from the feedback. There was also a course on how to prepare for English skills tests and how to answer the questions on tests. The teachers analyzed the questions and taught us how to answer smartly. We took a mock test every week, so we practiced these useful skills immediately. Also, we learned a lot from our mistakes on the mock test.

The teachers often designed activities for us. We played games such as role playing games, guessing words, and memorizing sentences. When the activity was a presentation, it was a hard task for everyone in the group. For our presentations, teamwork was even more important than our individual skills. Everyone needed to cooperate to get the work done quickly. We tried our best to impress everyone with our presentation.

The program Teaching Assistants (TAs) played the most important role in the program. The biggest contribution that the TAs made to the program was that they stayed with us 24 hours every day. Our TA not only accompanied us to class but also took care of us after class. In class, the TA had to understand what the teacher wanted us to learn, what the teachers wanted to focus on. The TA also had to help conduct the learning activities and help us understand everything in class.  They also had to report to our teachers on how our studies were going. After class, the TA had to take care of us and help us solve life problems. We lived in the same dormitory, so we practiced English together. It was a totally English environment even when we were not in class. The TAs did their best to make sure that we did not have to worry about anything but improving our English skills.

        Although the Intensive English Program was a short-term program, I learned a lot from the program. I increased my English level to B2 successfully, so I can promise you that it IS possible to improve your English in a short time. Moreover, I made friends with many people who love English. It is hard to find an English environment with excellent teachers, motivated classmates, and helpful TAs. The Intensive English Program will be held again in this summer vacation, so don’t pass up this opportunity.  The Intensive English Program is the best opportunity for you to learn English.

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