A gap year to study abroad in the USA: Claudia's story
Claudia, a 24 year old from Colombia, chose to spend a gap year studying English abroad in the USA. She spent her year taking intensive English lessons, getting to know Portland and making a lot of new friends. Find out more about her time in this West Coast city.
How will your course help you in the future?
I chose my course thinking about the best way to improve my English, and it is living with native speakers. Also I thought it would be a good idea to spend a complete year living the daily life with native people. English is going to be very helpful for traveling, meeting people and, obviously, improving the possibilities of developing my career to get a better position, and more options for a master degree.
Describe a typical lesson.
During the 3 hours of a regular class, we do activities that let us work on the four English skills. Usually we do activities in groups that include conversation, reading and listening, and sometimes writing. In all those activities we use the grammar and the vocabulary that we learn during the week.
How can you tell your English has improved?
The daily life tests your English every minute. I can feel that i'm more able to hold conversations with other English speakers beyond basic issues. Other usual situations you have to solve, like talking to a bank or answering a phone call from your medical insurance, all of those situations let me measure how much my English has improved.
What do you like most about Kaplan in Portland?
All Kaplan Portland staff are nice and kind. That creates the perfect atmosphere for making friends and adapting faster to life far from home. They are always ready to help you with the academic issues, but also to give you advice and information about life in the city.
People in Portland are incredibly friendly. I think that makes it the perfect place to practice your English and to get used to international student life. Also there are many cultural activities and the public transportation system is very good, which is perfect for students.
What do you like most about your host family?
My host family is a support for me. They help me by giving me information about the city, American life and my speaking. I love to have dinner all together and talk about our days or different topics. For sure they have made me feel like part of the family.
Would you recommend Kaplan?
Yes, I would. Kaplan is a very good school for improving your skills due to the teaching method. Here you have the opportunity to correct all the holes in your English. So if you are just starting or have an intermediate level, this school gives you the tools for improving your skills and also adapting to life in a new country.