SAF Scholar Yuchen Song shares his experience from his online summer program with SAF at UC Berkeley.
I take a course based on lab, which means that there are much less lectures than labs. Well, you may ask, what does lab do? In a word, lab part provides you with a lot of materials for you to study on your own or in a group. To check out the study outcome, we are supposed to submit the lab assignment after each lab session.
I remember that in the first lab, the TA assigned each of us a lab partner to work on with, and I was paired with a girl from South Korea. At that time, I was kind of nervous and didn’t even say hi to her. None of us said anything during the first hour of the lab, and the breakout room was very silent. Fortunately, she started the conversation by asking the first exercise on the lab spec. And then we just began to discuss with each other on some specific problems. After that experience, I found that it was our internal hinder rather than real language barrier, which actually keeps us feeling awkward to speak English.
Meanwhile, the main dictionary of our group discussion and instructors’ lecture is a set of academic terminologies from the course, so the vocabulary can’t be a problem, too.
One tip for those who feels worried about talking with a native speaker: Just try to talk, never mind the grammar mistake or incorrect usage of a specific word. The others will always understand what you mean.
The language barrier basically isn’t a big issue of my course now, I think.