Spending a year learning English in Hollywood
We recently spoke to Claire (Yi-Hsin Chen) from Taiwan, who has been studying English at at Kings LA for 8 months so far. She tells us about improving her English, gaining confidence, and making international friends at Kings.
Hello Claire, please let me about yourself?
I’m from Taiwan, and my city is Kaohsiung, and I have been here for eight months. In total I will stay one year. This is my first time to come to America.
What do you think of Los Angeles and America?
First when I came here I was very nervous, and I didn’t know how to speak. I was afraid because I didn’t want to make mistakes, but here you have to speak English. You need to order food, go shopping or go to supermarket. You have to speak English. I can speak now and make conversations maybe with Uber drivers or even with strangers!
So you feel differences in your English now?
Yes! It’s very different now! First day I was very quiet, and then I met many friends at Kings and even at La Mirada Apartments. I always sit outside because it’s good to practice my English [with other students]. My first roommate was Japanese and my second roommate was from France, and we always speak English so that’s good practice.
You are in the heart of movie and music industry in Hollywood — do you like it?
Yes, I like it! because in Taiwan, movies are always from America. So coming here to LA was my dream!
Why did you want to study English?
About 5 years ago, I started studying English. One day, I opened the English textbook, and the unit one was about “where are you from?”, and I thought, “why? I’m 20 years old, and still studying topics like 'where are you from' "? I thought this is not good for me and I wanted to learn new things. Then I talked to my mother and asked “can I go to America? I really want to learn English!”, and my father said that if my English is really good when I come back to Taiwan, I could find a job using my English, so that will be good for me.
Can you tell me a bit about your class and lessons?
There are 12 students in my class. They are from Japan, Hungary, China, Brazil, and France.
One of the teachers, Angela, she is really nice. When I really can’t understand something in the class, she’s very nice and just explains very slowly or clearly what they mean. And if I say something incorrectly, she always says “oh you could say that, but this is better” or something. She’s really nice and she plans for her classes well.
We sometimes have conversation practice outside. First, we have to finish 1 or 2 units on the text book, so we have to finish that first and then if we have still some time left, we go outside and do a conversation outside.
I take “Taboo” class as afternoon elective class [Special Interest Group or 'SIG'], which deals with inappropriate topic or slang. It’s very useful because it’s just not about learning new language, but it gives you something more other than just the expression, so that we have more conversation to practice pronunciation. We separate into small groups, and we talk about these questions. And sometimes we have to go in front of everyone and make a short presentation. It’s like a show!