For many immigrants, how they arrived in the United States is less important than their goal of obtaining citizenship.
To become a U.S. citizen, however, you have to be reasonably proficient in English – at least, proficient enough to pass the test administered by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
5 practical tips that you can use
Generally speaking, the more you immerse yourself in the language, the more proficient you’ll become. However, nobody says that learning English is easy. When you’re in a time crunch and you’re anxious to have your immigration status adjusted, here are some ways to “level up” your skills:
- Give yourself vocabulary lessons: Cue cards, Post-It notes taped to household objects and other tactics can help you quickly increase your written and spoken vocabulary skills. Ask a friend to periodically test you on the vocabulary words so you can gauge your progress.
- Read out loud: Reading books written in English helps improve your fluency, and reading out loud doubly so. You’ll learn better how to pronounce the words you see and start to hear them more clearly in conversation. Start with children’s books and work your way up to some that are more challenging.
- Talk with native English speakers: Join online forums where the primary language in use is English, and attend workshops, free library programs and lectures that are taught in English. The more deeply you surround yourself with native speakers, the faster you’ll become conversant.
- Enroll in an ESL class: There are many free or low-cost English as a Second Language (ESL) classes available in community colleges, cultural centers and churches. These educational programs are often designed with immigrants in mind.
- Use language-learning apps: Duolingo, Rosetta Stone and Babbel are all apps that you can use to improve your English skills. Since you can download the apps right to your phone, that can make it easy to practice whenever you have a few spare minutes.
While there’s a lot of work that has to be done as you prepare for your Citizenship test, experienced guidance can allow you to rest assured that the legal aspects of your immigration journey are all on track.