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Embassy Goals 16 September 2015 - by Jess Ward

How to learn real English for real life situations


One of the best things about booking an English course abroad is you discover how to learn real English for real life situations.  Seol from South Korea is coming to the end of his General English Intensive course in Brighton.   His  English was already good (pre-Intermediate level), but  it was “text-book-English” rather than English for real life.  Here, he explains how living in Brighton over the past 9 months has really helped improve his English fluency and ability to use English in everyday situations.

How to learn English for real life

In this modern society you have to learn English to get a decent job

Has your English improved since you’ve been here?

Oh definitely. Yes.  The first time I came here, I couldn’t finish a sentence. I was Pre-Intermediate level, but I wasn’t really fluent and made lots of grammatical mistakes.

Did you practise your English with native speakers?

Yes.  I got lots of help from my host family.  I learned a lot of English vocabulary that I might use in real conversation. For example, my host-Mum said to me one day, “Could you bring the condiments over to the table”.  I had no idea what she meant!

She explained it was sauces, pepper, salt etc.  She said to use condiments was quite “posh”, but she likes to use it.  I asked her what other people might say. She explained they might say, “Bring over the sauce or ketchup.”

Condiments - expand your English vocabulary

Condiment: a spice or sauce added to food to enhance the flavour

Has being here helped you learn about English culture?

Yes. The English language is really different from the Korean language and that affects the way of communicating.  For example, in Korea we just say “Hello” and that’s it.  In this country, you say “Hello, how are you? What have you been up to?”.  This then leads to longer conversations.   I think that’s a good thing; it’s more sociable.

Have you learned English for real life situations?

Yes. The English we learn in Korea is focussed on words you need for the exam, for example for TOEIC or TOEFL.  But those words are not really necessary in real life. For example, the first time I attended the Conversation Club here in Brighton, I didn’t even know basic words such as flip-flop.  It was quite embarrassing!

Vocabulary: Flip flops

Flip Flop: a shoe typically made of plastic or rubber, with a thong between the toe

Did you think your English would improve this much?

Not really, but I discussed with my parents the best way to improve my English.  We came to the conclusion that I should learn English abroad.  Also, my Mother said it would be a novelty for me to experience another culture and broaden my perspective. I think it’s working very well!

What is your favourite memory so far?

I think it will be my experience with my host family. They were so nice.  It was my host-mom’s rule to have dinner for the family at 8 pm each evening.  We talked about what had happened that day.  They were also a bit like my own parents, giving life -skills advice.

What were you doing before you came here?

A University Degree in Korean language and literature.

What do you want to do in the future?

That is the question I’d really like to solve! I’m thinking of working in an International Bank, but I’m not really sure.  That’s one of the reasons why I came here, to see myself in a different situation and “to know myself”. So, I haven’t decided, yet, really.

One thing I do know, I’m going to work with foreign people in the future.  It’s amazing to be able to speak English with people from different countries.


How can you  learn English for real life? Book an English course at one of our English schools based in some of the most exciting English-speaking cities in the world.

Seol took an Intensive General English course at Embassy English Brighton and booked with one of our approved agents in Korea, EDM agency.

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