How I learned English

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Nowadays, knowing English is indispensable. Have the idiom as a second language is not a differential anymore, but a necessity. I really started learning it when I was 18 and, today I’m 21, I consider myself almost fluent. Because of the importance of the language, today I’m going to share my history with English and how I continue studding until today.

Since the Year 4 (or 4th grade), I had English classes at school. But I wasn’t very interested and language classes at Brazilian normal schools are not very good. I just start to get interested in Year 11 (or 11th grade), but it was too late. What was taught in the classroom, was far advanced in regard to me, who knew nothing. So at school, I basically didn’t learn anything.

Things changed when I started to watch TV series. I used to watch with the original audio and Portuguese subtitles. I started to notice and to take some basic things. For example, I noticed that when the character said “did”, the verb in the subtitle was in the past. And that’s how I started to learn the basics of the language.

Music was another thing that helped me a lot at the beginning. I used to search the lyrics and the translation of the songs I liked and I tried to sing along. This helped me to start to get some vocabulary.

When I finished school, I told my parents that I didn’t want to study in Brazil. And the condition my dad gave me was that I, at least, would start to learn English.  And that was what I did. In 2014, 18 years old, I started to study at CCAA, a Brazilian school specialised in English and Spanish. Because all that I knew was guessing through the series, I preferred to not do a test and start from the beginning. What happened was that what I’d learned from series and films were right. Because of that, learn English in a specialised school served more to give me a little bit of confidence and to improve my speaking. I took those classes for a year and a half and left the school in basic three.

In September of 2015, I realised a dream and did my exchange. I went to London and I stayed there for 3 months studying English. It was one of the best periods of my life. On the first day of school, I took a test and they put me in the intermediate level. I got to the advanced by the end of my course. This experience helped me with the grammar, fluency and mostly, confidence to talk in English. Besides all these, it was something that made me more mature, responsible and and decreased slightly my shyness.

During this period of English at CCAA and exchange, I’d always studied by my own. I used to search things on the internet, I used language teaching apps and websites, I started to read books in English and to watch lots of videos on YouTube of natives. Besides that, at the beginning of 2015, I created the blog and started a YouTube channel in English. The blog was created so I’d practice my writing and vocabulary, that’s why all the posts have the option of English or Portuguese. I created the channel with the purpose of helping with my pronunciation and diction in English.

Until today I continue to study. I believe that, without practice, the fluency goes away. Today I don’t need subtitles anymore, I watch things just with the original audio. I only read books in English, except if they are originally in Portuguese. And I continue using websites like Duolingo to practice. And of course, I still have the blog.

I know that my exchange helped me a lot in this journey to fluency and that it’s not something most people can do. But today, with the internet, the knowledge is accessible for almost everyone. There are tons of websites and YouTube channels that explain the grammar and bring a good amount of vocabulary. Reach the fluency is a long process and that can take some time, but with dedication, will to learn and patience, everyone can get there.

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