English as a second language
I was introduced to the English language in elementary school and since then I have been practicing it by conversing with my international friends, watching American TV shows and listening to English music. All this indeed improved my skills with the language, however, nothing compares to physically being here in the United States, Thinking, acting and dreaming in English. This experience did significantly improve my English. At the beginning of the semester I stuttered /mumbled and had a lack of confidence when talking to Americans, concerned they will not understand me; but the longer I stayed here the easier I found it and the more convenient it was for me to communicate in English. My confidence has grown a lot and I don’t struggle as much a I had earlier.
Also, in terms of accent, at first it was harder to understand me and I received negative comments from people who asked me to repeat the same word over and over again. During my stay here, I learned the right pronunciations of the words so I speak more clearly. Without a doubt, this experience is the best English schooling I could get. It forces you to be creative in searching similar words and finding new ways to express yourself if you ever get lost in the translation. Additionally, I found that Americans are very nice and have a lot of patience with foreigners speaking english language, in the sense that if they see a foreign student who has difficulty with the language they will help, instead of making fun of the language differences. They even find our accent cute (:
Regarding writing in English, since I jumped into the academic life as a graduate student I was required to be more elaborate on my writings as it should be and I understood how crucial the format is along with the content. Concepts like critical thinking, analysis, freedom, meeting the expectations of people, and the transitions between the paragraphs were the ones that I had never paid attention to before. I made presentations in English, wrote papers, took several exams, and during this period I realized that I am more experienced and have progressed in speaking and writing in English.
Even though I now feel more comfortable with English compared to my prior times here in the states, I know I still have a long way to go to fully be able to express myself in the same level as an English native speaker and I should try to continue to improve my English in each and every assignment. I want to be able to put in words precisely what I want to say, without the language…barrier, using as much “high vocabulary”. And, perhaps one day I will be able to publish an art critic about an exhibition I appreciate