Resources: Notes on Life and Language in the United States

How Small Steps Can Lead to Big English Goals | Chiara's Story

Posted by Lindsay McMahon on Mon, Jun 11, 2012 @ 08:18 PM

Training for English communication skills new york, resizedToday I would like to share with you the story of Chiara, one of our most successful students this year!

Just like many other students, Chiara faced real challenges when she arrived in New York from Italy with her husband and daughter, but she took her English goals seriously.

She worked hard day in and day out and gradually took small but important steps toward improving her English. She showed remarkable dedication and she has been an inspiration to us at English and Culture! Chiara has made more progress in four months than many English learners make in a few years.


How did she do it? How can you do it too? Keep reading to find out!




It started with a feeling of being overwhelmed:

chiara, english goals, small stepsChiara contacted us in January, feeling overwhelmed with her new life in New York.

When we spoke during her first consultation, she told me about the things she was concerned about.

How could she help her daughter do well in school if she couldn't communicate with her daughter's teachers in English?

How could she attend meetings with other parents and discuss important issues like nutrition for the kids at school without being able to understand the American parents?

And what about her own life? How could she feel comfortable in New York and grow as a person in her life abroad if she couldn't have conversations with her American neighbors or even communicate with shop owners around Manhattan?





A team of 3 and a plan:

team of 3People say that in order to be successful, you need to identify your goals and recruit your army of supporters.

Chiara, Jane (her tutor) and I, worked together to create a long-term plan that allowed her to not only improve her grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation skills but also to take a step back and look at some of the deeper issues that all English learners face when they come to the U.S. like handling fear when learning English, dealing with a new language identity and cultural adjustment.




Here is what we did:


  • Chiara's dedication: If you want to reach your English goals, you could learn a lot from Chiara. Success is all about hard work and that is what Chiara did. She worked hard! She did homework for each class, read a novel in English and constantly read our new blog articles and English lessons online. Most importantly, she was inspired to learn! She knew that this time she had in New York presented an amazing opportunity to improve her English skills and she took advantage of it!
  • Professional and customized language instruction: Chiara worked with her tutor, Jane, in New York City, on weekday mornings. Jane knew how to guide Chiara through the right exercises in order to help her learn new phrasal verbs, grammar points and to improve her pronunciation and reading skills. To learn more about what they did, check out Chiara's success story.
  • Cultural and language coaching: In addition to Chiara's lessons three times per week, I met with her via Skype once per month. This allowed us to take a look at her language learning goals, to ask what she can do to overcome obstacles to practicing more often with native speakers, to look at how she was adjusting to life in the United States and most importantly, to stay inspired throughout the English and cultural learning process!



What can you learn from Chiara?

student story

Chiara is a great example of what's possible when you identify your goal, find a team to help you reach that goal, create an action plan, take baby steps to get there and stay inspired with a positive mindset even if it feels like a long journey.


But Chiara is just getting started!


At English and Culture, Chiara has inspired us with her enthusiasm and perseverance! Thank you Chiara, for your hard work!





Would you like to dedicate yourself to improving your English like Chiara has? You can start by clicking the button below to sign up for English lessons by email!


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photo credit: Leo Reynolds

Topics: Advice for English Students, How to Learn English, Expatriate Support

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