For many LSI students, their experience here at our schools is one they would like to remember forever. The friends they make, the fun times both inside and out of classes, field trips, nights on the town… when students leave, they often say that their memories of their stay are as valuable, if not more valuable, than the English that they learned. LSI New York’s departing assistant director Victoria Reis, has put together some suggestions on how to capture these memories and practice and improve your English along the way. Below are a few simple ways you can simply and simultaneously capture your memories as well as improve your English.
If you have a laptop with a camera, keeping a video log is a great way to record your memories. Every evening, just sit down in front of the computer and—in English—share a few of your favorite stories or moments from the day—these can be people you met, things you learned in class, or funny anecdotes from your daily life. One special thing about a video log is that it will be easy to show the camera the fun things you find or buy; just pick them up and bring them into the frame. You could also have your new friends make a guest appearance on your videos. Who knows, if you share your video log on YouTube, your “Adventures of an LSI student” video log might become a viral sensation! Video logs would be especially helpful for students who want to practice their paralinguistic skills—gesture, facial expressions, and body language.
Another digital way to capture your memories is via the voice memo feature on your phone. Just tap the record button and speak (English, of course) into your phone’s microphone. A great thing about voice memos is that they can be made on the go—you can record them while you are walking to your homestay or hotel, while you are waiting for your friends in a park or a café, or even in bed right before you fall asleep! Voice memos would be a great technique for students who want to practice their fluency, intonation, and pronunciation skills.
A blog, or web-log, is another way to keep a record of your stay at LSI and improve your English at the same time. Writing a few sentences a day on your computer, and pushing upload, will provide you with an easy-to-follow, chronological account of your experience. You can also upload pictures—as well as links to your videos and voice memos, if you want to! One great thing about a blog is that it can be easily accessible by people all around the globe, so it’s a great way to keep your friends back home updated on how much fun you are having. A blog would be most useful for students who want to practice their writing, vocabulary, and accuracy. Make sure to set your computer’s spell-check to English!
Scrapbooking can be a great method to save memories, especially for visual or tactile learners. To make a scrapbook, you paste pictures and other paper souvenirs—notes from class, movie tickets, or newspaper articles, for example—into a large book, making sure to leave lots of room to write funny or informative captions for each item you paste in. This can be a great way to organize your thoughts, and can be a great gift to bring home to your parents.
For students who want to work on their handwriting and spelling, a journal can be a great way to do this, and record your adventures at the same time. A journal is great because you can write in it anywhere, and you can write about anything. Journals are often more personal, so you can keep a record of your impressions of others, fears and challenges, without having to worry about anybody else seeing it. A journal can be just for you, and it can be an unforgettable treasure to look back on both when you get home as well as throughout your stay. Sometimes the troubles you were having at the beginning of your study abroad can seem quite silly once you have been at LSI for even just a few weeks!
All of the above methods are great ways to capture your memories and improve your English at the same time. If you practice these habits regularly, you can also watch your English improve gradually, and see yourself gain capacity and confidence in your new language and your new life at LSI.