Speaking English with confidence and sophistication
Chris Sawyer | Thursday, March 05, 2015
Last week I met Maria Vasilchenko, ambitious and enthusiastic student from Moscow, Russia, on the last day of her one week course at OISE Oxford.
Having had a clear picture of her needs and with the aim of preparing for a masters degree in the UK, Maria opted to attend the Quatorial Combination Programme with five hours of individual tuition and found it an ideal combination between informal, general and business English.
How important is a good level of English in Russia today?
To be honest, English is not a necessity for education, studying, or employment in Russia. It is not a requirement and you can get by without it. However, if you want to go that extra mile, offer your child an exceptional education, excel in your studies or take your career that one step further then English is absolutely essential.
In my experience a career in an internationally focused and global company is only possible with a high level of English. That is why I am investing in this course with OISE. I want to push myself and achieve the best possible for my future! The skills I have learnt this week have included writing emails, taking notes, negotiation and presentations skills, all key for academic and professional success.
All my peers in Russia, who have a strong career drive, are doing the same. In fact, I realised that my English was not so bad after all, but I was lacking the confidence. The tutors have really worked on that with me and I can see my progress clearly. It has been a very rewarding experience.
You mentioned in your initial inquiry with OISE, that you wanted the focus of the course to be on presentations skills. Why was this so important for you and what did you learn?
Confidence and presentation skills are a big deal in Russia. They are key for job or university interviews and for entry
into good universities. My plan is to start a masters degree in the UK next year, so I want to be prepared and feel self-reliant. This summer I will
be taking the CAE exam in preparation, but this week I wanted to focus on expression and pronunciation.
Like many students my age in Russia, I have had private English lessons for many years. This has given me a basis, but it’s a huge difference to learn with native speakers,
and even professionals interested in similar things to me. I have been very impressed by the expertise and high level of experience of the teachers at OISE. We were on the same page with regards to many things and that also made the conversations in the lesson very interesting and engaging.
With the teachers we worked on body language, precise pronunciation, diction and intonation.
All these factors have given me a new confidence speaking English, and this confidence means I am less afraid of making mistakes as I can communicate
my thoughts clearly.
On the last day of the course we had to present to the whole school in a formal setting. Each presentation was filmed and I was able to see real progress.
I felt very comfortable and proud to have achieved so much.
Congratulations! Can you summarise three of the most valuable things you learnt in this week?
1) Accuracy with idiomatic expressions.
2) Confidence speaking, including articulation, control of the voice, stressing the right part of a word and sentence and controlling the speed. I
have realised that speaking English slowly also sounds more sophisticated!
3) I realised that my English was not as bad as I had thought. A lot was already there, but I needed the support, encouragement and a few tips and
tricks and the rest came very easily.
You can find out more about all the courses available at OISE Oxford here.