I have enjoyed helping many Spanish speaking immigrants toward the pursuit of living their dreams. As a trainer I conduct motivational programs in Spanish, I take complicated concepts and attempt to make them simple and easily understood. As a real estate agent I helped to break down the barriers of home ownership by taking the pertinent information from English to Spanish. I come across masses of people who have lived in the United States for a long time and are afraid to attempt to speak English. Many understand English but are afraid to speak it because of embarrassment.
If you truly want to have success, English plays an essential key towards your growth. Look at any job classified and you will see how many employers prefer Spanish bilingual job applicants. Try to apply for a loan or start your own business and you will come across many barriers if you are not able to communicate in English. What if you have an emergency and nobody around you speaks Spanish? If you don’t speak English now, don’t get discouraged. I want to encourage you that you can speak English and you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to do so. There are many simple steps that if you apply them, will help you improve your communication skills.
One of the reasons you are probably not learning English is because you are in a job where everyone around you speaks Spanish. This makes things comfortable and easy for you. This way you don’t have to get out of your comfort zone and you can continue without any struggle. When I was an exchange student in Morelia, Michoacan, I didn’t have the luxury of having someone speak English around me, nor was their any posted signs in English. I knew I had to learn to converse in Spanish very quickly. The best way to do that is to speak without fear or embarrassment. Sometimes people laughed at how I pronounced things or didn’t understand what I was trying to say. By practicing, I was able to improve my communication. If someone laughed at me, I would laugh with them and continue to try to explain myself until they understood what I meant. People will respect you more for trying and not getting it right, then if you don’t try at all.
English classes are obviously a great step toward improving your English. There are many ESL classes that have flexible schedules and fees. I was a teacher of ESL classes and I was impressed about the curriculum. Classroom instruction gives you the essential basics in writing, pronouncing, and speaking English. It is also a great place to meet other people who are in similar situations.
The next step is that you need to practice your English everyday. Like anything, if you don’t practice you will not be good. Carry around a dictionary or phrase book. If you get stuck on a word, look it up. Converse with the cashiers and bank tellers in English. If you have a co-worker that you usually don’t talk to at work, tell him that you want to practice speaking your English with them. Don’t be afraid to tell them to slow down if they are talking too fast. Ask them to repeat something you don’t understand. Repeat back to them what they said to you.
Watch T.V., and listen to the radio in English, even if for an hour a day. Watch the news or a funny show and always be actively listening to the phrases. Try to capture the meaning and look up words you don’t understand. One last thing you may try is to get a few children’s books in English. By reading these simple sentences you will learn how to speak correctly.
Summary of steps for learning English in six months or less.
o Watching T.V. in English
o Listening to the radio.
o Reading children’s books.
o Practicing with native English speakers.
o Carrying around a dictionary.
o Speak without fear of embarrassment – it is better to try than not.
If you truly dedicate yourself to learning English, you can accomplish it in less than six months. You will be at a conversational level and able to communicate with anyone in any situation. Your English will not be perfect, but you will be on the path to constantly improving yourself and you will have a basis from which to grow. Then you will be a more valuable commodity in the work place. Remember, anything that you accomplish in life takes dedication and practice. Learning a new language is no exception but I know anyone can do it. Give it a try for thirty days of following the above steps. I promise you will see improvement after thirty days and will want to continue from there. Now go for it!