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Keep English Switched On: Go to Office Hours

Strategy #4: Go to office hours

In this semester-long series, our expert Learning Instructor for International Students Julianne Reynolds offers tips for keeping English “switched on” in your daily life at Penn. If you’re only using English in the classroom, you’re missing out on a lot of learning opportunities. Follow these short and sweet tips to flip the switch to English.

Go to office hours. You can ask questions about the course material, get help with a particular assignment, and build a relationship with an expert. Not only do you benefit by learning more about subject areas that interest you, but you are also demonstrating to your instructor that you care about that subject. And you get more practice speaking English! It’s important to start building these relationships early on in your academic career. Down the road, you might turn to your instructors for career advice.

But don’t just take it from us:

“I visited four professors during office hours a total of 6 times in the past academic year and each time I received tremendous support academically and emotionally. Among these meetings, there was one in particular that meant a lot to me. At the beginning of my master’s program, I talked to one professor about one challenging assignment, as I felt that I could never achieve what he expected us to. To my surprise, he not only explained the requirements in detail but more importantly, relieved me from being overwhelmed by the pressure to be perfect. We ended up discussing our understanding of academic success for graduate study and came to an agreement that what mattered most was the knowledge and experience we could take away with us for years rather than GPA. That meeting was a turning point for me, as I was able to actually enjoy learning and experiencing my study life without the burden of becominYue Shig a 4.0 student.”

– Yue Shi, Counseling and Mental Health Services, GSE `15.

Learn more:

Stouffer Commons is undergoing a renovation project from May 27th - August 2nd.

Although the Weingarten Center staff have relocated to other campus locations during this period, the Center is open and available for students from Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. ET. Please call 215-573-9235 for assistance. You can also send an e-mail to