How did I become fluent in English?
I am very excited to share my story about how I became fluent in English. What I am about to share with you is my personal experience. Not everyone reading this had the same experiences I did in the USA. My goal is to inspire you to make the changes you need that work for you to improve your English fluency.
Before moving to the US, I went to bilingual schools in Colombia, which meant my classes were in English and our English class was very intensive. I was highly motivated to learn because we were told being able to speak English would open many doors in the future. My dad was able to get a good job in Colombia because his English was good, so that inspired me to learn. However, learning from a textbook and a non-native speaker is very different from having to understand native English speakers.
Small changes I made to get better English fluency
Once we moved to the US when I was in 7th grade, whatever I had learnt in school in Colombia went out the window. I thought I would be able to understand and speak way more than I really did. I felt like I was a beginner all over again. The first couple of years were very difficult. I only hung out with other Spanish speakers and I was afraid of speaking English. I didn’t want people to know I had an accent or that I wasn’t fluent.
After a while of feeling frustrated, I started making changes. I ditched all of my Spanish speaking friends and only hung out with English speakers. I also volunteered to read out loud in class and paid close attention to how my other classmates read so that I could improve my pronunciation. The most drastic change was making a promise with my siblings to only speak English between us so can we become fluent. To this day, we only speak English with each other.
Moving to another state
We ended up moving to Nashville, TN from Florida when I started 10th grade. The high school I went to had no Spanish speakers so I was forced to learn English. It was the hardest period of my life. I was very quiet all of the 10th grade because I was embarrassed of my accent. It was worse than when I lived in Florida. After the first year in Nashville, I made changes again to adapt to the new environment. I forced myself to improve my accident by practicing daily. I did this by listening to music and learning the lyrics; I became an active learner, so I stopped being quiet and shy when speaking English; I started making English speaking friends and being around them so much, my pronunciation improved dramatically.
I am really happy to be able to share my experience on this platform. I want to reiterate that this is my personal experience but I hope you were able to take away a few strategies I used that helped me become fluent. Age and prior experience may have an influence on how you learn, but it is a long process nonetheless. It’s all about making small changes to your daily life that will make a big difference in the long run.
The small changes I made in my daily life to improve my English
These are some of the changes I made in my daily life that improved my English over the years:
- I started hanging with only English speakers
- I read out loud in class as much as possible, even if I mispronounced words
- I promised my siblings we wouldn’t speak Spanish between us ever again, which we did
- After I moved to Nashville, I was only surrounded by English speakers, forcing me to improve my English naturally
- I practiced daily to improve my pronunciation so that I could survive high school
- I wasn’t afraid to ask if I didn’t understand something and became an active learner
Hopefully this was helpful and you are able to adapt changes to your daily life that will make a huge difference. No matter how old you are or how much “free” time you have to dedicate to English, it is about the habits you can incorporate to your daily routine that will improve your English. Thank you for your support! Follow for more tips.