Yes, I'm asking on behalf of a few new grad students. I have some hope for this group, though their scholastic aptitudes vary as ever. Like hpguo, almost all of the new grads have had recent ESL coursework, but a couple of them are hitting the language barrier hard.
hpguo told me back in the day that he learned the most English just by watching prime-time network TV. Banamum watched Let's Make A Deal. I wonder: how much practice do you suppose suffices for being able to follow lectures? A hundred hours? A thousand? 400,000 practice words? 4 million? Yes, very yes?
ETA, 11:10 CDT Sat 02 Sep 2006 - I forgot to ask: what was your first language (or what were your first languages)?