How to overcome the common fear of British accents

Posted: 15.08.2016
Author: Rima Harutyunyan

There is a common idea that British accent can be really hard to understand, thus a lot of international students feel insecure about their language abilities before coming to the UK. I vividly remember my own feelings and doubts 2 years ago, which seem funny now. I was in such a panic that spent 2 days practicing just for the visa interview. Now I can surely tell that you won’t have any serious problems with language here, as people are really friendly and try to help international students. However, here are some useful tips that I would give to panicking myself two years ago.

  1. The first thing you may think to do is taking some extra classes. Surely it would be helpful; however, what I would advise is participating in some group activities and conversation. Of course this would work for those who enjoy being among other people and are interactive. Even if you are an introvert (like me) I would recommend trying to go out of your comfort zone and take part in conversations, as it would be a useful skill as well.
  2. The second tip is for those who spend a lot of time on movies and music and feel guilty for spending so much unproductive time. As you can guess I am among those. What I decided to do is to watch all the films in English and listen to music with lyrics. From my experience I may definitely state that it works great. I have learnt a lot of new words with correct pronunciation, while enjoying my favorite films. You can even try TV programs and TV series. Just try Sherlock or Downton Abbey and I promise you won’t be able to stop watching it. In addition, you’ll fell in love with British accent and, of course, their great sense of humor.
  3. Finally, the last tip that I have tried, is watching British bloggers. If you are short of time and want to learn some useful everyday phrases, this is exactly what you need.  There are plenty of different channels online, from fashion and lifestyle to sketches and humor. It is really a great way to learn not only the pronunciation of common words but also the new and trendy phrases that may not be available in books.

What I would say to all the new students is:

just relax

English is a foreign language for you and it is completely normal if you may not know all the words.