January 31, 2019

3D academy

How I survived my First Week in 3D Academy without much English skill!

Hi everyone, this is Quan. The newbie in 3D Academy, an English school in Cebu, Philippines as an intern student. I just finished my first week of study here and I am happy to report about my life here with you. Since arriving here, I manage to speak English ONLY with my newly acquainted friends. But my level of English is still quite miserable. Mainly my vocabularies are still limited. No matter how small the improvement is, I believe my English will improve a lot by the time I finish my study here in 3D Academy.

Here’s my diary about my day-to-day preparation of my English study plan. Hopefully the transparency in this post of my first week will show people that there is no magic at play here to improve your language ability. Let’s dive in in.

Day 0: Preparation

Before boarding my plane to the Philippines, I had hoped to have prepared a little in advance this time. I started reviewing my old notes of English to refresh my memory in the week or two leading up to my flight to Cebu. But living in the cold winter of Kazakhstan, you would imagine the lives. Working and Family time took a toll on us and there’s hardly any other time left! So despite having all the old English notes dug out from my old files, I really only started reading them from the day I flew out of my country.

Preparation

As I couldn’t take many books with me on the flight due to the luggage weight limit, I installed several apps about learning English in my iPhone. I also brought a pocket vocabulary book so I can read it from time to time on the plane. I am not sure how these preparation helps in the long term, but it did calm myself down on the flight. I kept telling myself, I am prepared. I am ready for the new adventure.

Day 1: What Is the Purpose of Your Visit?

What is the purpose of your visit? This was the first question asked by the customs officer when I arrived at airport of Cebu. This is the most common questions asked because the purpose of a trip could change the type of visa required for entering the country, or subject travelers to different regulations. Please check here if you need a visa.

By the way, to study English in the Philippines schools such as 3D Academy, you do not need student visa. Instead you only need a normal tourist visa or no visa at all for citizens of certain countries. However, take note that you should get a school letter of admission to explain to the custom officer about the purpose of your visit – which is to study English here. Also, the school would then apply for a Special Study Permit (SSP) for you.

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On my first day all I had to do was to meet with the representative person of the 3D Academy in the airport and get to JY Square, where the school is located. When we got to school I received my ID card and went into the campus. My room was great. I am happy that it would be my second home! Then I went to the JY Mall near to School to buy groceries. It’s very convenient, with the supermarket right beside the school! That was my first proper English conversation in Cebu. These English conversations for purchasing items are easy. You can easily pick up the sentences you need to use from the phrasebook. In my case the vocabulary I had studied on the flight did the trick 🙂

Day 2: Know your level in the English exams

In the first morning, I had a small conversation with my roommate over breakfast at the campus. Then we went out to main building for the English entrance exam. The exam lasted for 3 hours from 8.30am to 11.30am. It’s like a full IELTS exam! We had tests on writing, speaking reading, listening. The school runs a detailed test to let us know our current English level and to tailor our personalized schedule according to our test results. In the afternoon, we have an orientation for all new students. Then, we got our personal schedule at around 5pm and all classes starts from the next day.

Entrance exam(Listening & Reading)

For me, being an intern student, I have to meet with other interns and managers in the school in the afternoon. I was worried about my English skills as the entire working environment is in English. Luckily, my colleagues are very patient and friendly.

Day 3: My first taste of English lessons in the Philippines!

I had heard a lot of people recommending about taking English lessons in the Philippines. This was my first taste of it! My first challenge: finding the classroom! There are over 100 classrooms in the school here. When I was lost I simply asked any other students I met in the corridors and they were happy to help me to find my classrooms. It looks like a very friendly environment here in the school. In the end I spent around 10 minutes to find my classroom and started my first lesson.

The teacher tried to get more information about me and my country as ice breaker in my first lesson. She tried a few ways to explain her questions but I was having difficulty in understanding her. That’s when she started brainstorming for new way of asking questions.

IMG_5680

For example she was showing some countries in the world map pasted on the wall of the classrooms. Then she said “…Russia…and Phillippines, Cebu, we are here” and then she asked me to find 3D Academy by google map. For this I needed to connect to WiFi. Then she asked me to take out my phone, changed the language to English. Then I have to press “Settings, General”, then go to “Network, Cellular Data Network.. WiFi”. And then connect. And then find the map, and start looking for our location. In between the process, she said some words which I didn’t understand. However, not understanding them didn’t stop me from performing what she was requesting. Even if you just understand 30% of the information, you can still get 100% of the content by this kind of interactive learning.

I gotta say, this is such an interesting class! We don’t learn the boring lessons by the book. Instead, we learn how to use English in our daily lives. And the Filipinos are the sweetest, kindest and most loving people in the world. They really work relentlessly to help us the students to understand!

This successful first day of trying had given me a great confidence boost. But I know that  there are LOTS of words in English I need to work on to improve my language!

Day 4: Prioritizing what’s important and learning step by step

As an intern student, I need to help the school to pick up new students from the airport, regardless of the nationalities of the students. I needed to greatly improve my English-conversation skill and be ready for them. I obviously need to learn more vocabularies or I can’t say what I want. It was a daunting task.

For these I have felt the pressure tremendously. Until one day, I told myself,  I will not pass off as an Englishman in such a short period of time. So I tried not to focus on speaking perfectly like an Englishman. This is what I learn called “study triage” where I focus on process which is easier and more important for me at this point of time.

School life5

There is quite a lot of ways that will genuinely help us to speak more confidently and more “fluently”. The main thing is to spend more time listening and reading. No I don’t mean the textbooks. Just reading English in textbooks can get boring. Try reading or listening to English texts written by native speakers. You can join the free movie sessions in 3D Academy twice weekly. At the beginning, to understand what those people say in the movie would be a challenge. But trust me it gets a lot more interesting once you can do it. If you can’t find English books or magazines, please don’t forget you have free WiFi in 3D Academy. Use the Internet to read the news in English every day.

Day 5 and on: speaking English all day long

Find ways to make English part of your everyday life, like writing your shopping list, reading the newspaper, listening to TED Talks, writing a diary in English, or listening to English on your cellphone etc.

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Once you start living in an English-speaking country, there are probably many foreigners living nearby. Find ways to meet with them: go to cafes, joining sport, social or trip program of 3D Academy. Find a study partner and meet regularly to speak English. You can motivate each others and you will learn by helping others with their problems. For example, I had invited several foreign friends of 3D Academy to my rooms or to go out together starting from my first week. These friends are from Japan, Spain, China, Germany – we have been hanging out all day long and speaking just in English the entire time. It didn’t feel like a stressful language test. They are also curious about learning English language so we are happy to share about our English learning tips with each others… in English!

Some people learn English language best by listening, others learn best by writing. You cannot know which learning tips and methods will work best for you until you know which kind of learner you are. Knowing yourself is one of the most important steps in your study journey. 3D Academy can help you understand yourself, make better choices, and discover your your abilities and interests.

While you are reading this post somewhere at the comfort of your own country, I am very happy and proud to study in 3D Academy here! For now, my dream of speaking English fluently continues…

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Hopefully this detailed account of my first week will give you an idea of how language hacking in the Philippines can help you to start speaking English. Do you think it’s time to start moving on your dream now? If Yes, get ready for an unforgettable journey to your dream destination with the Best English School, 3D Academy!

 

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