As I mentioned in About Me section I am not a native English speaker but what I have been always believed is to thrive under any environment, mastering its language and learning how to communicate effectively was the key. I am not saying I am perfect but I have gone through harsh times living and working as a foreigner and the tips that I am sharing below will help you achieve your dreams faster. What is your ultimate goal? You did not come all the way here to practice your own language. Your competitors can already speak perfect English. If you believe your skills and work ethics are better than your competition and are able to communicate in English without much problems then you will be more favored than native speakers. Don’t try to be perfect but great by using the tips below.
1. English only environment- This probably is the most important tip that I can share. Forget about your mother tongue for a while. You are already too good at it. If you have your family and friends living with you speaking only your own language, try to convince them to use English together as your common goal is to be better and not stuck in the same level. The environment means basically everything you do should be related to English such as watching, reading, listening, speaking etc… It would feel a bit awkward at first but will be better gradually and eventually you would feel weird using your mother tongue between your friends or family. Me? I use English with my current wife who used to speak poor English is now very comfortable communicating with others in English.
2. Never study English but enjoy English– If you keep thinking English as a studying subject then it would likely become something that you don’t like to do. Try to enjoy learning English by utilizing the following methods
- Watch your favorite movies and shows in English. If you find it difficult then watch it with subtitles then slowly watch without it. On and off again until you are fine. Make it as your favorite hobby-something that you do after work or studying. Watch it with your friends, girl friend, spouse which would make the process effective as you are enjoying it together. If your favorite movies and shows are tough to watch then try to watch comedy shows such as friends, modern family, the office, two and a half men etc… as actors in comedy tend to speak slowly and clearly. The benefit of this is unbelievable. You will thank me later.
- Read your favorite books in English but remember reading is definitely tougher than watching shows so try to find easier novels such as contemporary short stories and comics. My favorite books are typically related to personal finance, Entrepreneur biography, motivational business books etc. I always read them in subway commuting from/to work and that time is one of my favorite times of the day.
- Hang out with your friends. Who does not like to hang out with friends?
- Study your favorite subject in an university or a college. Try to make English as secondary things to worry about. This method is forcing you to excel in English to study subjects that you need to learn for your future.
- Be social in online– If you are shy, which is the one of less desirable things to have when learning English, then use other social networking sites such as Youtube, Facebook, Twitter… Watch the videos, read comments and communicate with others online.
3. Don’t translate everything word for word to your native language– If you are doing it then I would stop right away as that slows down and you won’t be able to focus on learning English.
4. Keep it slow and steady wins the race– If you are in hurry in learning English, then you will get burn out within a couple of months or a year. English isn’t something you can learn and be better right away. It is a lifetime learning thing to do. Keep trying and never give up. You can’t speak fluent English tomorrow. The more effort you put in, the better you will be in the future but trust me, you can see your progress every month or year.
5. Be open minded– Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Your friends or whoever you hangout with that care about you will point out your mistakes, pronunciation etc.. when they do, don’t feel bad as they are trying to help you but fix the mistakes right away.
6. Be confident and feel good about compliments from others- I probably shouldn’t say this but honestly feel good about myself when my friends compliment my language skills and compare with other foreign friends he/she has known and lived here longer than I have been. To be honest, I have several foreign friends that have lived more than 10-15 years here but still speak very weak English. What really counts is how much put yourself into the English only environment not how long you have stayed in the country
What are your tips in learning English?
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