From what I have seen so far, the main difference between my experiences of English at university and high school is one of focus. At high school, the emphasis of English classes was on mastering the basics of the language whereas at university, my experience of English is mostly about applying the language effectively. There is an expectation that at university degree level, one should already be proficient at English, with a thorough ground in grammar, syntax, spelling and diction. This is why at university, we no longer study formally the technical aspects of English and look to improve our application of the language instead. English at university helps to build upon the linguistic foundation formed at high school where I first started to learn to use English competently.
In particular, at university, I have had to get to grips with an academic style of English that must be used for writing essays or dissertations. This standard style of writing with its formal tone and widespread use of citations was not something that was covered when I was at high school but with practice, I am now starting to become familiar with it. At university, I have had to improve my ability to persuade, convey and explain information in English in order to give presentations. I am majoring in actuarial sciences which is a highly mathematical subject so the ability to translate the complex findings from my mathematical reasoning and calculations into conclusions in plain English which can be understood by an audience from various background, is essential. The university English courses need to focus on helping students to learn strategies for communicating technical and specialized knowledge to any layman as well as how to communicate collaboratively and work effectively in a team environment. In my personal view, mastering the reading, writing and oral skills in English would be vital to enhance my competitiveness and my ability to learn and communicate in the rapid changing world of business and technology.
Of course, the development of my English language skills is not restricted to the classroom and workplace. English is a vital means for socialising and networking. Since I am studying at such a culturally diverse educational institution, the role of the English language as one of the most commonly used language in the world allows me to use English as a means to bridge cultural gaps between fellow students and help me to learn more about the world around me. Language is enormously important in shaping how people think and see the world so inevitably, the English language is intimately intertwined with the culture of the Anglophone world. One of my objectives in studying in Canada was to acquaint myself with and immerse myself in the culture of the English-speaking world. Using English as a tool for understanding society, politics and culture helps me to be an engaged member of society and global citizen.
With English as a language that evolves with time and technology, I believe continuous pursuit of fluency and proficiency in the use and application of English would certainly contribute to my quest for personal and workplace successes.