U.S. Law Center

California immigrants have resources available to learn English

No matter how far you traveled or how long you planned ahead of time to come to the United States to live and work, you undoubtedly encountered a few challenges in the process. If learning English as a second language is new to you, you might experience frustration or confusion as you settle into life in California. Public situations, like being a grocery store line, for instance, can try your patience if you have trouble understanding what the clerk or people around you are saying.

Perhaps, one of your ultimate goals as an immigrant in the United States is to one day apply for naturalized citizenship. To pass the test, you will definitely have to show that you can read, write, understand and speak English. International students often use helpful tips to become fluent in English. This, as well as building a strong support network from the start, can help you accomplish your goals.

There's an app for that

Modern technology has its advantages, one of them being that you can find an app on a cell phone to help you learn English. You can also listen to TV shows or podcasts to help you hone your English-speaking skills. Such technology might prove an enjoyable, easy way to learn because you do not have to be in a public setting to use these resources.

Finding a tutor need not be expensive

Perhaps, you simply can't afford to take formal English lessons at this time. You might be able to find a trusted friend, local college student or instructor from a U.S. college who is willing to work with you in your free time to help you become more fluent in English.

You might even consider forming a group that meets in your home a few times a month, including other family members or immigrants from your neighborhood who are also interested in practicing their English reading, writing and speaking skills.

When language barriers pose legal problems

There are many instances within the green card application or citizenship process where speaking and understanding English is a necessity. For instance, immigration officials might request your presence at an interview. It's definitely a time when you want to make a good impression, and if you have a severe language barrier, that might be difficult to do.

Any number of issues can arise regarding your legal status that would likely be a lot easier to resolve if you are fluent in English. In the meantime, you can tap into local support resources to ask someone well-versed in U.S. immigration law to advocate on your behalf if a problem arises.

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