As Chinese students, especially students of science and engineering, we use English quite often, but seldom have opportunity to immerse in real English environment, which is very important and effective to improve English skills. I asked Prof. David for help, and he kindly replied my email, giving suggestions and listing recommended reading materials. With his permission, I'd like to share this email here and make more Chinese students benefit from it. David, thank you so much for your advice.
For improving your English skills, of course the best strategy is to converse with a native English speaker as much as you can. But that's difficult here. That said, your English skills are very good. The emails you write me display very good command of English grammar and vocabulary. Not perfect, no. But very good. Your English skills will be perfect or near perfect one day. All you need is immersion. And you're not that far away now.
In the meantime, I suggest you read in English as much as possible. You're already reading Ph.D. stuff. But that's specialized. You need more generalized English. Given your interest in technology, I suggest you read the following:
- http://www.bothsidesofthetable.com - This is a venture capitalist's blog. He invests in tech companies. His English is very American. The content may be relevant to you. Subscribe to his emails (2X per week).
- http://techcrunch.com - This is popular in Silicon Valley.
- http://www.theatlantic.com - Superb journalism. Well written. Broad range of issue coverage. I read it religiously. Good China channel. Good tech channel.
- One more suggestion for your reading: Subscribe to McKinsey's newsletter.