What does it really mean to be fluent in English? Well, if you’re a native speaker, that answer may be far different than someone that is really learning English as a second language. For the foreign student learning English for the first time, fluency can feel like something that’s very far away. You want to make sure that you pace yourself, because there are stiff consequences if you don’t. When we put too much pressure on ourselves to learn a certain task, we just end up getting deeper and deeper into a sort of depression. We think to ourselves that if we can’t master it now, when will we ever be able to master it? When will we ever be able to meet all of our goals? It can be difficult to feel as if you have the power to master something that you’ve never tackled before.
Of course, if you’re reading this right now you’re probably already learning quite a bit of English, so the phrases here might be straightforward. But how do you set goals with something that seems so vast?
The first thing you need to do is get someone to help you. You may have some fluency in English, but there’s always room to grow. You need to get used to thinking and speaking in English almost all of the time.
In addition, you want to think about the type of job that you want. How much speaking, reading, and writing in English is involved? Does it involve using your native language as well? Sometimes when we can go back to our native language occasionally we tend to feel better. However, if you don’t have a job that lets you do both, it’s best to focus on English as much as possible.
Another way to pace yourself is to make sure that you’re still using your native language around your own group of friends or relatives. You still need to keep up your regular culture, and that’s something that people often ignore. If you try to rush through everything, you’re going to get disappointed.
The culture that you came from is still very important. You just need to make sure that you’re focusing on the bigger picture more than ever. If you don’t, then you could start feeling like you’re losing the culture that you were born into.
English is a tool that can open doors, but it can’t replace the culture that you were born with. Only you can do that if that’s the path that you wish to take. Reflect on this as you learn English — it’ll help you keep your goals in check with reality!