If you’re relocating from overseas to Houston, Texas, you’re in good company. Houston is one of the most international cities in the U.S. With the oil and gas business driving the area’s economy — and a shortage of skilled STEM workers in the U.S. — Houston businesses are filling STEM jobs with workers from abroad. Additionally, the Houston metro area ranks No. 4 in the nation for the percentage of residents employed by foreign-owned companies. That’s according to a 2014 report by the Brookings Institution.
How can you start improving your English language skills and feeling at home fast in Houston? We put together a quick guide that can help.
English Classes in Houston
When you move to Houston, one of the first things you’ll want to look into is taking English classes. Even if you’ve spoken English at work before, you might discover that you’re struggling to understand your Texas co-workers — and that they’re also having a hard time understanding you. Outside of work, being able to communicate with your new neighbors and the parents at your kids’ schools will help you enjoy life in Houston more.
Working with an English tutor in Houston does more than improve your language skills. Your English instructor also becomes a guide to the local Houston culture. A great language trainer will help you understand the ins and outs of daily life in Houston — like how to navigate all those highways — as well as local etiquette, slang and customs.
Luckily, you have lots of options for English classes in Houston. As part of your relocation package, your company may even find a language training company in Houston that fits your needs. If not, you can suggest that your employer provide English training and accent reduction lessons at your office.
How can you find the English classes in Houston that are right for you? Of course, we suggest that you start by checking out our offerings at Fluency Corp. We’re based in Dallas, but we also offer customized, private or small-group corporate English lessons throughout the Houston Metroplex. We think of ourselves as your fluency partners. We tailor all classes to your specific needs and focus on overall fluency, which allows you to speak confidently, clearly and with ease. Fluency Corp’s English training is live, not recorded, and all instructors are native speakers. Your English lessons can take place in your office, in your home or even online.
We can also recommend a couple of other local companies that offer private English lessons in Houston. Like Fluency Corp, these companies are woman-owned.
Worldwide English. This company can come to your home or office for very specific lessons about IT English, TOEFL Prep, Safety English and Medical English. Worldwide English also offers pre-paid packages.
Be Bilingual. This language training company has been in business since 1989 with many services. Be Bilingual offers private or small group lessons in Houston for Spanish, French, English and more. The company also offers accent reduction lessons for individuals who are already fluent but who want to communicate more clearly. Be Bilingual even has group Spanish lessons in the Memorial area of Houston for those wanting to save money and meet new people interested in learning Spanish and about the Spanish culture.
Become a Real Houstonian
Taking English classes in Houston will help you fully experience this vibrant city. Here are a few things to know about life in your new hometown.
- Join the crowd. With an estimated 2.3 million people in 2017, Houston is the fourth-largest U.S. city by population. And the Houston metro area as a whole has about 6.5 million people.
- Get ready to drive. Houston isn’t just big in terms of population. It’s also sprawling. According to visithoustontexas.com: “At 655 square miles, the City of Houston could contain the cities of New York, Washington, Boston, San Francisco, Seattle, Minneapolis and Miami.”
- Savor the diversity. The Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau reports that more than 145 languages are spoken in Houston. The Los Angeles Times called Houston” the American city of the future” because of its diversity.
- Speak the local lingo. First, as a resident of Houston, you’re a Houstonian, not a Houstonite. And you should know the city’s nicknames, including H-Town and the Bayou City. It’s also fun to learn about Texas regionalisms, like “tump over.”
- Eat well. Houston is one of the best food cities in the U.S. You may associate only barbecue and Tex-Mex food with Texas, but in Houston you can dine on cuisines from all over the world, from some of the country’s most innovative chefs.
- Cheer the home teams. When you’re studying English in Houston, be sure to pick up some sports terms. In baseball, the Houston Astros are the reigning World Series champions. The Houston Rockets just missed the NBA Finals. And, of course, this being Texas, football is hugely popular. Besides cheering Houston’s NFL team, the Texans, you can also join the fan bases of the Texas A&M Aggies, the University of Houston Cougars or the University of Texas Longhorns.
More Resources on Moving to Houston
You can find additional tips and information on relocating to Houston from abroad in expat guides by InterNations and Expat Arrivals. Meetup.com also lists many expat groups and gatherings. And to learn more about English language training in Houston, please contact us for a free consultation.