Cambridge English: Proficiency is a great way of officially documenting your language ability
“Hi, my name is Benedict Krüger and I have just returned to Germany from Korea, where I spent one semester as an exchange student in Engineering at Seoul National University. A semester at an overseas university can be a real challenge, and I would like to share how I think Cambridge English helped me cope.
In our last year at school (in Hessen), majoring in English, two classmates and I decided to do Advanced. Because the English skills required for Leistungskurs are a pretty good match for those of Advanced, preparations for one turned out to be beneficial for the other. So by the time we left school, we held an internationally recognised certificate of our English language abilities.
Abitur of course can get you fit in English, but we liked the fact that our certificates are part of an internationally standardised framework and can open doors into English-speaking institutions.
After Advanced, I still had the ambition to do Proficiency one day. Though my Advanced certificate did actually say I had level C2, I knew there was plenty of room at the top! But I didn’t get around to doing anything about it until I decided to go abroad for the fifth semester of my Environmental Engineering degree. Although I am still an undergraduate at the Technical University of Darmstadt, some of the courses I would be taking in Korea were at post-graduate level, and of course all of them would be in English, so it was time to get my English back up to scratch. Actually, that’s a bit of a mild expression for Proficiency preparations! I spent my precious weekends practising my essay skills, trying to figure out how on earth the jumbled texts fitted back together, telling my brain to keep calm when the multitask listening was taking its toll, or staring at my watch just not believing how long 2 minutes could last when you are speaking on your own and want to keep on making sense.
And was it worth it? Totally. Proficiency gives me the assurance that for the rest of my studies, whether Master’s or PhD, language will not be a hurdle for me in the English-speaking world. Which basically also means the entire academic world.
But the true benefit for me personally didn’t stop with acquiring the official certificate – it showed itself in my daily life at Seoul National University. Reading, writing, listening, speaking and use of English are the tools you use on a daily basis as a student. Reading: extract the information and be able to answer the Professor’s questions. Writing: keep your assignments in an appropriate format with a range of vocab and style according to the purpose of the paper. Listening: it’s not all on the slides, you have to listen analytically for ideal exam preparation. Speaking: keep cool in your oral exam and remember you already did this in English for Cambridge. And finally use of English winding its way through all of it.
So what I’m saying is this: Proficiency is a great way of officially documenting your language ability. But even better is that it’s not just a sheet of paper – it actually helps you manage English in a professional environment. Now it’s down to me to keep that level up :-)”