Clàudia’s post was very informative about how she learnt English, and I have to say I share most of what she said. I remember Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban as the first film I watched in English with English subtitles, and most of my English comes from surfing the Internet or listening to British or American music. All of these will improve your reading and listening comprehension a lot, but you also need to be able to express yourself in this language. Some things you can do to improve your written and oral expression:
- Try to make friends! The Internet will help here. You can find people to talk to in English in lots of websites, and you will probably share interests with them, so it’s not going to be hard to speak to them! Once you get used to speak to someone in English you will start to think in English and, from that moment on, you will be getting more and more fluent every day.
- Don’t be shy! If you travel to a foreign country, try to be the one who speaks to people in hotels, shops, museums… Lots of people know how to read and write in English but they find it difficult to talk. What can we do about it? The answer is really simple: talk. After a few minutes you will not even remember you are not using your mother tongue anymore.
- Travel as much as you can. Once you are out of your comfort zone, everything gets different. Travelling is the perfect chance to explore the world, improve your spoken English and discover new things about yourself. I mean it. It’s not like some travel agency is paying me for this post. Plan a trip, it’s really worth it.
That’s it. Learning a language has two parts: on the one hand, getting familiar with it; on the other hand, making sure people understand what you want to communicate. This post is about the second part.
I hope you found it useful, now go and put it into practice!