Would you consider moving to an English-speaking country to become fluent?
Do you live in an English-speaking country and think you must be surrounded by native speakers in order to become fluent in English?
You’re not the only one!
Although immersion sounds great, living in an English-speaking country doesn’t guarantee fluency. This is why millions of English learners live in countries like the US for years but still don’t feel comfortable speaking English.
Under the age of 14, passive language acquisition, such as immersion in a language, has been shown to be beneficial. In order to build true fluency, adults need active participation and a different type of learning than they get in English language classes.
If you learn the right way, you can become fluent anywhere, by yourself, and FAST.
Is it possible to become fluent in a foreign language without living there?
For speaking English confidently, immersion can be an excellent tool, but it is not essential.
In fact, many non-native English learners don’t get much “immersion” at all in English-speaking countries. Even in an immersion environment, learners may spend most of their time with others speaking their native language. It feels more comfortable because it’s what they’re used to, but it can prevent you from embracing the new culture, learning the real language, and becoming a confident speaker.
Despite living in countries like the US, Canada, and the UK, many non-native English speakers never become fluent because they don’t learn like natives.
Myths about native speakers debunked
It is often believed by language learners that they can only gain fluency by speaking English like a native speaker. And they often assume that the only way to learn a language is to interact exclusively with native speakers. But this is not true! It is not native speakers who will make you fluent – it is the native learning method that will do the trick.
The way you learn is the way you speak, so even if you are around native speakers a lot, if you don’t learn like natives do, you won’t get fluent. Therefore, you must learn English as a FIRST language rather than studying through your native tongue.
As a native English speaker, you are exposed to the authentic spoken language used in everyday conversations. This includes informal expressions like slang, phrasal verbs, and idioms. Rather than relying on strict grammar rules and translations, your understanding of the language is enhanced through visual aids and relatable stories. Additionally, you benefit from the Naturally Varied Review method, which exposes you to various forms of the language from different speakers with diverse accents. This helps improve your communication skills, memory retention, speaking confidence, and fluency.
The fluency of native speakers is the result of years of natural exposure and varied review – the right way. In other words, fluent speakers are MADE, not BORN.
In Fluent For Life, I teach English as a FIRST language because that’s how native speakers become fluent.
The challenges of learning in an English-speaking country
To become fluent in English, many English learners wish to live in an English-speaking country.
It makes sense, but living with natives doesn’t guarantee fluency! Let’s explore why.
1. Traditional language lessons won’t help you
It is not the best way to achieve lifelong fluency, no matter where you are. All over the world, including in English-speaking countries, most English classes are the same traditional lessons. Thus, living in an English-speaking country is often an additional cost for the same kind of lessons that prevent you from communicating!
Suppose you’re taking one of these typical classes when a coworker asks you – in English – about your life outside of work.
Perhaps you understand what he asks, but you stumble when you try to speak because traditional English classes taught you how to think about grammar. Perhaps you’re worried about making a mistake in vocabulary or pronunciation. Or maybe you can’t come up with the right combination of words. So, you still have difficulty expressing yourself.
In an English-speaking country, if you don’t learn English as a FIRST language in your English classes, you are not learning the real language.
Fortunately, there are more effective methods to reach fluency than repetition and memorization, no matter where you live. I’ll explain them more below.
2. Finding suitable practice partners is difficult
If you learn the right way, you may still want friends and people to talk to, but just being around natives doesn’t guarantee you’ll find great people.
In fact, many English learners find friends and speaking partners in the wrong way. They search for English-speaking forums and ask natives for practice. But most natives are not interested in this. Because native speakers are usually unable to answer learners’ questions about the language, they often don’t feel qualified to teach.
It’s also possible that colleagues, neighbors, and others may not always be patient or willing to engage in conversation at your level, since they are native speakers. Natives are also trying to express themselves naturally.
You will learn the language more naturally if you talk about something you enjoy with natives instead of asking lots of language questions.
Finally, whether you speak with someone or not, the faster your fluency develops, the better you understand the language as a native speaker. And you do that by learning English as a first language. So keep reading to become a better speaker wherever you are, all by yourself!
Become fluent in English without moving
While living with native speakers is nice, the real secret to becoming fluent is to learn the way native speakers learn.
As I teach in my course Fluent For Life, Native Americans learn English as a FIRST language, not because the land is magical.
It’s important to immerse yourself in native English, but strategically. By immersing yourself in spoken English, you can see different accents, tenses, situations, and more. Moreover, it helps you process language patterns without speaking until you’re ready to. Through this method, you can learn faster, gain a deeper understanding of the language, and become more confident speaking the language.
There are other useful methods that can help you learn more words and grammar like a native, besides my Fluent For Life course. Let’s take a look at a few.
3. Apps and platforms for language learning
As an English-language learner, you’re probably familiar with many language learning apps and platforms.
In order to improve your fluency, apps can be a valuable tool. They provide structured lessons and opportunities for daily practice.
You can even use it to fix any pronunciation mistake by yourself – without having to study any rules! It’s called Frederick, and it helps you fix any pronunciation mistake all by yourself.
Apps shouldn’t be your main learning tool. Since most of these programs lack real-world application, such as common English phrases, and cultural exposure, they won’t help you achieve lifelong fluency. Take care what English you learn, because how you learn is how you speak!
4. Resources and courses available online
The same applies to online language courses and resources. Look for courses that emphasize practical language skills, like conversation and listening comprehension, rather than rote memorization.
You should also consider the quality of the instruction you are receiving. Experienced language instructors understand the nuances of effective language learning, so their advice can help you become fluent faster.
How Can I Achieve English Fluency Fastest?
For English language learners, living in an English-speaking country can be a great experience, but it’s not the only way to fluency. In fact, it’s not the best way to fluency because it doesn’t guarantee fluency at all. Regardless, you do need to learn how natives do, and the right methods will help you get there.
When you learn English as a first language, you can actually make more progress in weeks than most learners make in years. To learn more, visit Fluent For Life.