Building Confidence At ICNY

By Wing Yao (China)

One month ago, New York was a strange city for me.  I didn’t know its history and I didn’t understand the language. For example, when I went to buy something and tried to communicate with the sales people, they didn’t understand me.  I felt embarrassed and wondered if New York City was suitable for me?

Then I started attending the International Center to study English in October. In the beginning, when I studied at the Center, the problem was that during the conversation I didn’t have any topic to talk about. My brain became blank, and sometimes my topic was very boring. It was hard to go on with any conversation. The other issue was, I couldn’t translate from Chinese to English and sometimes I couldn’t find the right word to express my ideas.  That was upsetting to me.

I took many courses to improve my English, such as a conversation course. I learned how to ask simple questions, which is very useful for conversation. When I joined the Small Group Discussion course with John Uss, it was easy to find the topic and discuss it with others in the group. I liked Joe Lamb’s course. Speaking out loud after Joe builds confidence and improves pronunciation.

I also took courses about history and culture. In Donald Young’s course, The Real New York, he gave us the data showing that New York is a city of many immigrants who come from difference countries. I felt comfortable, because I was not the only one who faced problems in New York; other immigrants are in the same situation.  In the Cultural Traditions course, Luise Palace introduces the US culture, and such holidays as Halloween and Thanksgiving. I was so happy to join the Thanksgiving dinner at the Center and to experience the culture of the USA.

And the same time, the Center provides business courses to support students in developing interviewing skills, and tips for success at work. My favorite course is Effective Public Speaking, where Gail Tomanelli teaches us how to overcome the fear of speaking out in public; how to organize the material; and how to attract the attention of our audience.

Now that I have been studying at the Center for over one month, I feel a real change. Now it is more comfortable and easy for me to create topics to share, and I feel confident and free to speak. I am happy that I have made many friends and that I study English at the Center.

I love New York and I love the International Center.

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