My journey of learning English as a second language

People often think I grew up speaking/writing English like this, which is so not true. I’ve come a long way from being born to parents who speak ZERO English to this.

I recalled many years ago when I first began college in America I had to pretend I understood what my American classmate said when I understand close to nothing. I had to use a MD player (if you know what it is) to record my lectures. Although I did get an A in English in HKCEE, it took me a while to get used to the American accent and the normal talking speed. Needless to say, humor was complete lost on me.

However, I was determined to learn and to assimilate. I’d talk to strangers on the bus, stayed away from Hong Kongers and Chinese as much as I could, and watched Disney Channel with subtitle as an adult. My learning curve was very steep. Every small talk was a personal victory. I went from understanding 10% to being able go on dates in 6 months to moving away from my cousin to a 100% English environment by myself thousands of miles away.

I went all in. The only time I would speak Cantonese was when my mom called. I even went to speech therapy to correct my accent along with my other speech predicaments. For every website that was available in both Chinese and English, I always chose the English version. I always learned something new while I was teaching English and writing my English novel in Hong Kong. I still Google grammar rules now!

There is no shortcut in learning a language. Even native speakers make TONS of mistakes. The only way to get better is to continuously put yourself in situations that stimulate learning and take you out of your comfort zone.

About Nicky

Nicky English is a journalist, an educator, a podcaster, a couch potato, a dreamer, and a child at heart. Learning is her passion, so is the English language, which she believes is the tool to unlock the door of knowledge. Born in Hong Kong, she received intensive writing training at The University of Iowa, where she double-majored in journalism and political science. Apart from the Hawkeye State, she’s lived in Chicago and Philadelphia. When she was a guest student at Georgetown University, she fell in love with Washington, D.C. She also has a Master of Arts in Communication. A little side note—she cannot imagine a world without her Mac and iDevices. Like many crazy ones, she hopes to change the world one day at a time.
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