If you are one of the lucky students planning to attend one of the language schools in Washington DC, you are in for a life-changing experience. Not only will learning English change your life for the better, living in DC will be an experience you will never forget.

Students who take English courses in Washington DC will have a true language immersion experience. They will be surrounded by native English speakers, and they will be expected to immerse themselves in American culture. Everything from who they speak with to where they eat will require them to practice listening to and speaking English.

If you want to make the most of your time as you study English in Washington DC, we’ve come up with ten tips to help you fully embrace the student life experience in DC.

Make friends with classmates and locals

First things first – you should try in earnest to make friends with classmates. Your fellow international students will understand what you are going through such as culture shock or homesickness. You can help one another overcome these challenges and learn English at the same time.

At the same time, it is also wise to become friends with the locals. Befriending students who live in DC will take your student experience to the next level. These friends will help you navigate American culture, as well as help you learn more advanced English speaking skills such as slang.

Participate in student activities

Students enrolled in language schools in DC should make every effort to participate in student activities. For example, inlingua, the premier Washington language institute, creates a monthly student activities calendar specifically designed to get students out into the city and immersed in the culture. Plus, they are fun!

Don’t spend money you don’t have

In general, students do not have expendable income. They tend to have little extra money – especially when they have used their savings to travel abroad to the US to study English. Therefore, it is important to watch your budget. Fortunately, students who choose to study English in DC will have their choice of free or cheap entertainment options. For example, most of the Smithsonian Museums are free to visit all year long, as well as the National Zoo in DC.

Explore, explore, explore

The worst thing you can do is come to America to learn English and then spend all of your time in the classroom or in your dorm room. Instead, you should make a point to explore this wonderful country. Begin by exploring DC. There is plenty to see and do in the metro area. From there, make plans to travel to other places in American you have always dreamed of visiting. Now is a perfect time! DC has bus stations, train stations, and airports making it easy to travel elsewhere.

Engage in American cultural activities

Embrace American culture by engaging in their favorite past times. For example, embrace American holidays such as Halloween and Thanksgiving. If you have the chance to play sports, give it a try! Consider joining an intramural team if you have athletic ability. If you don’t think this is in your skill set, at least take in an American sporting event. Go to a baseball game or watch an American football game on television.

Try new things

Being a student gives you the freedom to try new things because being a student is all about learning new things. Therefore, you should go out of your way to try new things with your fellow inlingua classmates. Whether these things involve trying different foods or new activities, you will learn something new. Plus, you don’t have to worry about embarrassing yourself in front of your family as they won’t be around!

Embrace a hobby

DC is a major metropolitan city with something to offer everyone. No matter what your interests are, you will find a club or shop that celebrates these interests. If your hobby is reading, you will have tons of public libraries and local bookshops to visit. If your hobby is music, you will have endless options for listening to live music around town. If your hobby is game playing, invite your classmates to a game night.

Stay healthy

It is not a myth that students often gain weight. The food you eat will be different than back home, and your immune system may take a hit. To avoid these issues, it is very important to watch your weight and stay healthy as a student living abroad. Keep your waist to a minimum by doing waist training exercises.

Fortunately, DC is one of the fittest cities to live in America. Throughout the city, you will see people walking, running, and biking to get around. Take advantage of the Capital Bikeshare program to rent bicycles to explore the city and get in some exercise. Choose to walk often. Join an exercise group that meets in one of the city’s parks.

Set goals

Students who set goals for themselves tend to do better overall. As you arrive in DC, think of all the things you hope to do in your time here and make a list. You should make personal goals in addition to academic goals.

For instance, one goal may be to have a conversation with a native English speaker. Another goal may be to pass the IELTS. Identify the ways you can achieve these goals, and then work hard to make it happen. Then, celebrate your accomplishments!

Ask questions and ask for help

Finally, do not be afraid to ask questions or ask for help when you need it. You are in DC to learn English. You are not expected to know everything. You are here to learn. Therefore, you should ask questions regularly whether they pertain to the English you are learning or American itself.

Also, if you are struggling in your classes or simply getting around DC, you should not be scared to ask someone for help. Students at the Washington language school, inlingua, will tell you that the trainers are willing to help guide you through your language learning experience. And, you will find most people in the city are happy to help when you need it.