How did Rene, a software developer from Ecuador, become a confident English speaker? Watch the interview above and read the one below to find out!
1. How did you learn English?
This is a long story, haha. Let me explain why. I studied English in school ever since I was a kid, and I also studied for a year in the university. I used to be one of the best students, even when I was unable to establish a basic conversation with somebody else in English.
I also took a course in an institute where I had a couple of native English speakers and also other bilingual/multilingual teachers. Then, I figured my English was not so bad because I was able to understand them and establish really poor dialogues with them. Then I met you Stef, and you helped me a lot to grow my confidence. As I said, my English was not so bad, but my lack of confidence was one of the biggest obstacles during this journey. But now I’m enjoying practicing and improving instead of being afraid.
2. Why was becoming an English speaker so important to you?
I work with technology, and the most important articles, conferences, books, etc. are being done in English. By the time some of them are in my native language, they have already become irrelevant.
I really care about my career and myself as a professional, so I decided to learn English to take out all the obstacles that are not allowing me to move forward quickly. I really love staying in touch with the most cutting-edge technologies, and I decided to work remotely with a company in the USA. But when I started it was a big mess since I didn’t have a good English level. Then I started to work with you Stef and now I can say my English has improved a lot.
3. What has English helped you accomplish?
Are you kidding me? Haha… This year I achieved one of the most important milestones in my life. I traveled to the USA to attend one of the most important conferences in the world for developers. It’s called QCon and it was celebrated in NY. Then I was able to meet Erika in person, another one of your students and an awesome person, too. After that, I traveled to Chicago to our client’s offices and I was able to establish relationships with them, become friends and even go out for a Chicago style pizza. Wow! That was AWESOME.
During this trip, I also had the chance to visit “Las Vegas”, LA, Silicon Valley, and San Francisco. OMG, I don’t have words to say THANK YOU!!!
Last but not least, after a couple of weeks I traveled again with my family to Miami, Orlando, Palm Beach and Atlanta. I felt really comfortable talking in English, asking for help, making jokes and enjoying every single moment. Now that I’m remembering all this, my heart is full of happiness and I’m feeling so grateful to you.
In a nutshell, you gave me wings to fly and accomplish my dreams.
4. What learning strategies have helped you improve? What hasn’t helped?
Your awesome advice, “if you want to talk in English, then go and talk in English.” It was awesome. I did it, I talked in English no matter my grammar mistakes or stupid English rules. I just tried over and over again to express my ideas. This helped me feel comfortable talking and expressing my ideas.
The stupid English books didn’t help me at all. (Sorry, English teachers)
5. What do you still struggle with? How are you overcoming this?
I have a big lack of vocabulary and I still make grammar mistakes. I think I can improve it by watching videos, but I feel I need new ways to use new words. I decided to talk in English in my office. And since all of us are involved in the same field, it’s kind of easy to use some new words, btw a friend of mine always corrects my mistakes. But it’s strange because even when she corrects me, I still make the same mistakes. I need to figure out how to overcome this.
6. What advice do you have for other English learners?
Just do it. Forget your fears and try to expose yourself as much as you can. Nobody will care about your accent or your grammar mistakes. If you have something to offer, people will like to hear you.
7. Tell me what you’re working toward. What goals do you have for the future?
I still need to work on my English and develop a more professional vocabulary.
I have really cool ideas for learning new things, traveling around the world, sharing my knowledge on social media platforms, becoming a speaker, writing more books and things like that.
But I’m also starting to think about the people around me. I started to think about creating some products (idk what kind yet) to offer jobs to old people that have no education. I know there are a lot of people that are over 50 and they have 0 education or just few years of elementary education. They are honest, good people. They are good workers and awesome dads. But they are dealing with the lack of jobs. Maybe they are just waiting for an opportunity that I could create. I hope I can do it. This is a big deal for me and I feel like I can’t rest until I accomplish it.