Posted by : VANITY Blog Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Before moving to Canada, one of the things that I feared the most was speaking the English language. I mean, I was not entirely unfamiliar with the English language since I had studied it in school. In the Philippines, students are taught English from kindergarten up until college. Despite having had learned English in school, I was scared and terrified by the fact that I would be speaking full English in conversations. As part of my not-so-pretty human nature, I don’t fancy to look stupid. I did not want people to think I was not smart, and that was my biggest mistake.

As a Filipino, I would say it is part of our culture that we laugh at everything. Man, the way we laugh at everything. If you mispronounce an English word, laughter immediately ensues (especially if you mix up the “p” and “f”, “o” and “u”, or “i” and “e” sounds). Though it is merely for fun, it is still pretty embarrassing to be laughed at. Because of this mentality, I had a notion that other people would look down at me or laugh at me at my poor communication skills. I did not want to be laughed at because of my English skills—whether it may be because of my pronunciation, accent, or grammar.
That was where my mistake was made.

I was too hard on myself. I forgot that I was at square one. I am not a superhuman. I am not perfect and I commit mistakes. Besides, not all people are cruel. To think that they would belittle me is just plain petty and narrow-minded of me.

I spent my first two weeks not talking to other people, nervous about doing activities that involved interacting with people such as ordering at the cashier, interacting with salespersons, and asking for directions. I tried not to converse with anyone.

Thankfully, I learned how to cope. My confidence grew each day and having friends to converse with helps alongside watching movies, reading books and.. watching movies. Wait, I have already said that. Seriously though, watch movies and even turn the subtitles on. You might be surprised to find yourself using the same catchphrases and comebacks that they used.

So go on! Do not be afraid (especially not for the same reasons that I had), do not be shy, and be proactive!



“Here's the thing about mistakes: Sometimes, even when you know something’s a mistake, you gotta make it anyway.” - Ted Mosby 

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Vancouver Immigrant Youth (VANITY) Blog is an online space made for youth, by youth. Here, you will find stories and experiences written by youth immigrants who once felt how challenging it was to be a newcomer in Vancouver. If you are a newcomer in Vancouver (or anywhere in Canada), we hope to give you all the resources you need to feel comfortable in this country. We hope to give you tips and advices on how we adjusted to our lives here as youth immigrants. Through this site, we want to empower you to bring out your full potential.





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