I am Japanese who was born and raised in Japan. Now I live in the US. English is my second language. I had “F” in my English class when I was in school, never thought that I would learn English. But somehow, I decided to learn.
How I learned – I didn’t take notes, I didn’t take class nor care about grammar. I just wanted to learn to speak.
I watched movies and copied what they said even I didn’t understand. I start hanging out with English speakers. And I kept challenging myself to get better. Yes, I had a dictionary in my hand all the time but that’s when I needed to know a vocabulary. I never thought about grammar. Month by month, year by year, I got better. Now I have no problem understanding(except vocabulary sometime) and also I can laugh at American jokes
Now, I am lot older, and got to know my fiancé, who is from Colombia speaks perfect English. We have no issues communicating in English. However, his family and friends They speak SpanishCourse.
He speaks to them everyday bases, I hear his Spanish every day. BUT I can’t get anything out of it. And it is like a beautiful sounds/music to me than “conversation”.
I went to Colombia with him last year but I had no idea what they were talking about. I used straight Google translation to his family but it wasn’t perfect. If I didn’t use Google translator, I couldn’t even say “I will help you”. I was very discouraged and disappointed about myself that I didn’t even tried to learn Spanish before we went.
So here comes "Let's go to Colombia again this year!" I decided to study and prepare for this trip. I started from Duolingo, Rosettastone, memorize, Youtube, Baselang, copycat method, etc. I can't even remember… I have so many notes from all of them but NOTHING stuck in my head. 5 months have passed. Again, I have so many notes but no conversation. If your mom asks me "How are you?" "Well!". That is all. I can hear some words here and there, but as for the conversation, no, I don't have any skills ...
Then I realized after 5 months of taking notes: “I didn't learn this way when I was learning English. Why do I think I can talk WITHOUT talking ??? ”. Yes, yes, people asked me a lot “Oh well, you have a private tutor! Your fiance! But no, that doesn't work like that. I'm quite shy and a perfectionist and I don't like to disappoint my loved one… So I'm more scared of talking to him in Spanish than anyone else. I want to be perfect. So that doesn't work… We are going to Colombia next month but I don't have safe or Spanish information in my head… I will be disappointed again. Then I saw these ads. And I thought it would be perfect if I could do this in Medellin!
- I am very hungry to want to learn Spanish to communicate with my non-English speaking family without Google translation
- I know I am motivated enough to make the most of this 1 week course in Medellín, where my family lives.
- I get more out of talking, not taking notes
Motomi from Japan
This article was originally written in English