The Experiences of Non-Native English Speakers at UCLA

Christina Oghlian, Cia Evangelio, Nina Esteghlal, Rikuto Kawada, Yuka Tanaka

As a native speaker of a language, we never really stop to think about the experiences and challenges of those who are not native speakers. It is especially difficult for those who are studying in a foreign country where almost everyone is fluent in a different language than them. We decided to research what challenges international students face in order to gain a greater understanding of their experiences as non-native English speakers at an American university. In addition, we want to use the results of our findings to understand what resources are available for international students who are not English-proficient.

We conducted our research by interviewing 10 international students attending UCLA, 5 of which were male and 5 of which were female, about their English academic proficiency levels and their experiences in various social settings as non-native speakers. By creating more spaces where international students can meet one another or consult with fluent English speakers about difficulties they might have with the language, educational institutions can help their international students feel more safe and comfortable in both academic and social settings.

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