I woke up today with a faint memory of a dream in English, and I knew it was time to finish this article. We will talk about two big changes we have made which have implications for both the short and long term.
As you know, Australia is one of the most multicultural countries, with most of the society having an Anglo-Celtic cultural background. The people are open-minded and welcoming and, of course, you can live well in this country without knowing English, but the ability to speak English does make a very big difference to your life. It really determines how many people you interact with, how much information you can gather, and how you function in your community. It also has a direct impact on how you understand culture and society.
As a professional immigrant you can have a good life, have a certain level of English and enjoy most of the benefits this country has to offer, but whether you want to see it or not there is still a huge gap between you and the majority of society that will act as a barrier, culturally separating you from others and locking you into certain minority communities. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that, people will certainly pursue different lives and we respect all diversity, but you certainly have choices because you are free and there are many opportunities. Everyone from the federal government to the local community wants to help you integrate into the wider world, share the same values with others and connect with a common bond and heritage.
For me, I have really felt the difference that improved English has made to all aspects of my life, especially socially, with friends and local connections making a bigger difference, and these are now one of the cores of my life. Therefore, I do want to make improving my English skills the most important piece of my life, connecting myself to the whole world, not only my own country, the core Anglosphere, as well as Europe, Singapore and beyond. To be able to research and express my opinions equally and freely, to be able to listen to all different types of voices. And most importantly, to fulfil the same roles and social responsibilities as everyone else. So I would say that the focus of my life during these two years will be to improve my English skills a significant amount, which will be the basis of all my future skill development and most of my social life and entertainment. As a result, I will be able to better understand all the books, films, music and theatre performances that I read and even talk to my friends better. I will not have to be limited in what I can say by my lack of language skills and I can talk about anything, anytime, anywhere by avoiding misunderstandings and the fear of uncommunicable ideas. I can talk as much as I used to and it sounds great and makes me envisage how much my life will change.
The transition to English as a primary language has been underway for many years and I think I can now say that the first stage has been completed, which is to think entirely in English and to gather as much information as possible in this English-speaking environment. Some ideas and ways of thinking have also been changed and language not only affects the way you speak, it also determines how your inner world is built. But what we have done is just the beginning, now we need to systematically build my thinking in English and it will be a long journey with a lot of building up to do.
But does this also mean that we need to abandon our current language skills and way of thinking? Of course not, we have been learning and practising the language for about 20 years now and it will inevitably enter my life through all my friends and existing connections. I’m not at all worried about losing it, maybe it will eventually bring my brain into a bilingual state, in any case we’ll see. I don’t mind losing some of it for a better possibility.
As we said above, we have to shift the main activity of our lives from work to study. Yes, this is the second change I want to make to bring myself back to my life as a student. What will be done is to shorten the time spent at work and increase the amount of studying. So, according to my current study plan, I will spend 15-20 hours working to make a living and then spend 20-25 hours completing my daily and weekly study tasks. These will move me towards a different focus in my life, which may also affect the way I live my daily life.
The overall purpose of life will turn from the exploration that began after I graduated from my first degree to preparing for greater development. We will be learning not only English, but also work skills and cultural adaptability. We will be starting another university degree next year, but until then English will be the main subject of study, which will also prepare me for my future degree studies.
For the past four weeks, all the study programmes have worked well because we are isolated from the social network. We do systematic, recreational English training, high school courses, interest-based foreign language learning and some work skills. The learning format is flexible and I’m very happy with the results so far. We’ll just continue for a few more months and then review it.
The future is brilliant, with countless possibilities, and we are building its shape.
English Language Learning Program: tommys.cn/english-learning
Tommy 6 Aug 2022 Midnight