You’ve just spent an amazing week, maybe two, in the United States. Were you on the West Coast? East Coast? Were you able to visit more than one major city? Maybe you saw the bright lights of New York City or visited historic Harvard University. Wherever you were, I’m sure it was exciting, challenging, and eye-opening! So what do you do with all that you learned, now that you’ve retuned back home?
Great question! Let’s discuss some ways to utilize those skills.
1. Keep practicing. You have just spent thousands of hours surrounded by English speakers. You’re listening and speaking skills have gone from ‘zero to sixty’ (race car reference – it means you’ve improved so quickly!). You should feel proud! But, now what do you do? Challenge yourself by continuing to speak with your friends and family in English. Make Fridays an English speaking only day with your friends. Watch movies in English. Practice listening to the words without the subtitles. You’ll be surprised at how much you can understand.
2. Stay connected. I know you exchanged emails with at least one person you met. They gave you their email for a reason. Stay in touch! Ask questions that you didn’t get answered. Send a friendly hello. Was there someone you wish you got to know better? Send them an email. Want to learn about your study abroad options? Send us an email. We are here to help you before, during, and after your trip.
3. Set goals. Dream big. You set goals everyday while you were in the U.S. You set goals for your trip here. Did you set a goal for when you returned? Maybe it’s time to do so. Set a new attainable goal everyday. How can you challenge yourself? How can you use the skills you learned abroad in your daily life? What is your long term goal? What are the short term goals that will lead you to achieving your long term goal?
4. Be brave. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. You learned this pretty quickly while you were in the U.S. And then you learned that making mistakes is perfectly OK. It’s OK in Japan too. You grow by learning from the mistakes you make.
Maybe you can use your skills to help your community. Can you help foreigners in your town? Maybe you can start an English newsletter in your school. Maybe you can help a non-profit in a needy country.
Find your passion. Use your skills. You are capable of great things!