Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Do you speak English?

So, In my last post I got a comment regarding the English language. I got asked about how I've learned English and what my tips are for taking up a language. Also there were questions regarding moving out and all these things, and I'd really like to answer all these questions for you!

First of all: How did you learn English?Well, this is quite a hard thing to tell because I had my first English lessons at the kindergarden, when I was 4 years old. My first languages are Polish and German so in these languages I am fluent. Now I am nearly 18, which means that I have been studying English for about 14 years now, which is quite a lot I'd say. Of course, the first 6 years were all the basics that you have to know before starting higher levels.
As I grew up learning both languages right from the start, it somehow helped me to take up new languages very easily. And learning new languages is a passion for me and not really difficult. So, sadly I can't really help you a lot telling you what you could do to really improve your English, but things I've done to achieve the level I have now are these:
Two years ago my whole year went to Cambridge for 2 weeks. We had English lessons every day with Native speakers and we lived in host families, which means that we could only communicate in English. And this is the best thing you could do while studying a language. Go abroad, use the language, even if you're not good at it, it will get better! If you have such an opportunity, do it! We had some free time as well as you can say and we went to London for 2 days where we also had to find everything on our own and try our best to "survive" there. We had special afternoons where we had to find special medicine in pharmacies, things at shops and ask people about things. This also makes you use the language and it really is a good exercise!
Last year my English level based on my school English was B1 (normal English level you have in Austria a year before graduating), but a Cambridge Advanced Exam was offered. You get prepared of course, in my case I had a three months crash course. So I decided to sit this exam. It lasted for 6 hours on one day and on the other day I had only the speaking part which lasted for 15 minutes only. It was quite difficult for me last year, but it helped me a lot now, shortly before graduating because I reached the C1 level and the highest you could get is C2, and the graduating level here is mostly B2, so I am not scared of my finals now because I should pass them easily.
Such exams are quite expensive, but after you pass them you get an official certificate and you just improved your language skills, you feel more confident about the language and so on. So I really highly recommend such exams! Also a thing that I never trusted was Youtube. My boyfriend is fluent in English and he always told me to watch English videos on Youtube as often as possible. And so I started watching vlogs and so on and in the beginning I didn't understand every single word but I had the idea of what was meant and so on. But by now I can really say that I understand everything and I am really glad to have this "ability" right now because I am also not scared to talk to strangers in English or something like that. So, this is a thing you could do for free: just watch movies, videos, read in English as often as possible and you'll see that this will help you more than studying from books because you get to know phrases and sentence formations, and also pronounciation!

Then: What are you going to do in Scotland?
Basically my plan is to move to my boyfriend Eryk, so actually live there, go to College and take up a language course, and also to work to earn some money. This is the plan for this year. But next year I'd like to leave College and start University.
This is due to the 35.000 applicants for Uni this year. In other words: I didn't get a place there and have to wait for next year.
But that's alright with me, I'd like to get things sorted out first, get used to the country, city, culture, language and life there before I get really stressed with going to University. I applied for three different courses at College. First I took Academic English, then I took English and French and then I also picked English and Spanish. Just in case I wouldn't get in into one of these courses, which would make me really angry. I'm not sure yet where I'd work during this time but most likely at a shop like Boots or Superdrug, just to earn some money to have something to live from. And next year I'd like to start studying at the University of Edinburgh, English and French. And this means that I have to study for 4 years and I have to spend some time abroad in the third year, in a country where you speak French, so I could go to France, Belgium, Canada and so on. I am quite scared about that because I don't know how this will look like, but this is going to be in 4 years and 4 years is a long time! These are my plans for the next 5 years.
Then I'd like to work as an interpretor somewhere in an office, parliament or similar area.

And last: Are you scared?
I am not that scared yet, but I know that when things are going to get real I will. I am the type of person that has to organise everything so that there is no chance that problems will appear. But of course, you can never know what will happen and this is what makes me a bit unsecure. I am for example not scared to move out, but I'll miss my little brother terribly! I also think that I'll have no bigger problems with the language, but on the other hand I've just learned it at school and it is not as good as it needs to be and I am scared that I won't understand some things about banks, hospitals, medicine and so on. But thank god my boyfriend will have no problems with understanding such things so I shouldn't worry too much.
I've been to England for 2 weeks, to Scotland for a total of a month already and I never really had problems with the language so I hope that moving abroad will give me the opportunity to get fluent in English, even though I nearly am, and that it will help me to find a nice job.

So these were all the things that came to my mind now, I hope I answered all the questions you've asked me and I hope that you understood everything that I tried to explain. If you still have any questions, let me know and I'll try my best to answer them! :)





  1. Why "livialinette" is that mean something ?

    1. My name is actually Olivia, but girls names that I really like are Livia and Linette, so there isn't really a deeper meaning behind the name :)