Today I’m coming here to talk to you
about how i became fluent in English. It’s a question I get asked a lot of
times, and also to share some tips from my personal experience on speaking a
foreign language or second language, on how to communicate well and be
understood in a foreign language when you’re living abroad. If you don’t
know anything about me, and this is the first video of mine that you’re watching, I am originally from Brazil, I was born
and raised there and I lived in Brazil for 23 years. Then I moved to the UK
and I’ve been living here for the last nearly six years now. Nowadays, I can say that I sometimes, well
most of the time, I feel more confident speaking in English than I do in
Portuguese, and I think that’s quite an achievement for someone who wasn’t
brought up in an english-speaking country and learned english as a second
language. So I thought this video may be interesting or useful to anyone out
there who’s learning English now and who is struggling to become fluent or to
know what to do to better their English. My english is far from being perfect and
I make mistakes all the time, but I consider myself capable enough of
holding a conversation, and I do all my YouTube videos in English, which is
good practice as well. So I’ll just get started with how I started to learn
English. When you go to school in Brazil and you get to a certain age, English becomes part of the curriculum
and it’s one of the mandatory languages to learn, and so I started learning in
school. But the curriculum in school is very limited and you really don’t learn
an awful amount of English in school. So if you want to be able to speak English properly, as a general rule, you have to enroll in
a private English school. And that’s what most people do in Brazil and most of my
friends did and when I was growing up. I was about 13 when I started studying English, or 14. Around about that age, 13 to 14. And I was going twice a week to a
private English school. It wasn’t something that was forced by
my parents. My mum always liked English. She did do private English lessons when
she was much younger, so it was something that she was keen for us all to know and
to learn from a young age. And we were just generally
interested in the English world, in the English-speaking world and the
culture. American culture, British culture, which were the two biggest cultures that
we were exposed to in Brazil, growing up. We had lessons, and we started with Basic,
Beginners and stuff, and carried on progressing to Intermediate, then Advanced
and then we got our degrees. What happened to me was that, I very
quickly realised I had a passion for languages, and that I actually really
enjoyed learning English. And so, very quickly I progressed and developed my
English because I was practicing so much and enjoying it so much. I wasn’t just
learning in the English school, I was going home, and I was watching things in
English, and I was listening to music in English and trying to understand the
lyrics and translate it. And that kind of helped a lot with my fluency and it
helped just to solidify the concepts that I’d learned from the books in my
English school, and I’d come home and it wasn’t something that I was forced to do,
it was something that I wanted to do. So I would watch things in English and try to
understand what they were saying. I loved my dictionary, I walked around everywhere
with my Portuguese to English Dictionary translating words that I’d come across
and that I didn’t know. So, then when I was 14 to 15,
my sister and I went abroad. We went to Disneyland, and that was our first
experience in an English-speaking country. And I just thought it was amazing
that I was able to understand certain things. I wasn’t fluent at all at that point. I just had a very basic knowledge
of English, but I just got so intrigued and interested in all of it.
A year later, I made my first trip to London. I came to stay with a friend.
I was 15 at the time. Yeah, I think so, 15 going on 16,
and I absolutely loved it. I fell in love with the British culture then
and I just did not want to do anything else,
I just wanted to learn English. I was staying with a group of friends
who only spoke English, which kind of forced me to speak English as well and
to kind of get out of my comfort zone, which was the best thing for me. So after I came back from abroad I did
the placement test to see where my level of English was after having spent that
time abroad, because that does boost up your English level quite a lot, and I had
jumped quite a lot of levels. So I went from being the start of
Intermediate, to going straight to Advanced and I skipped the whole of the
Intermediate course because I had already built up so much for vocabulary
and learned so much just by being abroad. So that really really helped me. I finished the Advanced level and I didn’t
stop there. I carried on studying because I didn’t want to lose my fluency and if
any of you out there are learning English abroad, you know how easy it is to
quickly lose your fluency if you’ve been abroad, if you studied
abroad or did an interchange programme. And then suddenly you’re back home and
no one speaks English on a daily basis. It’s really hard to keep up with the
language if you’re not constantly talking. So I enrolled – my English school
at the time offered what they called a conversation course, which was basically,
you finish the class, you finish the course. There’s no more grammar or anything to learn,
you’ve learned everything that we offer. But now we offer you the chance
to keep coming back twice a week with a group of people who
are still interested in keeping that English alive and we will just have
conversations, basically. There will be topics to be discussed every week, we’ll
have hand-outs and things, and I’m sure you still be learning.
So I did that and that was brilliant. I loved that and I recommend that anyone
who has finished their whole English course and is wondering what to do. Go and find a conversation course.
You might think that you’re putting money down the drain, but you’re not, because
you’re keeping that whole investment that you made
in your English course, alive. You’re basically saving your fluency in English, because you’re practicing twice a week at least
and you get to speak English that you wouldn’t get to speak otherwise. And you also have
a teacher there to answer any questions. That was basically what happened to me. It’s not groundbreaking, I didn’t do
anything different to what anyone does but I think I just already had a
predisposition to languages, and the fact that I went abroad really helped build
up my confidence in speaking English. So for starters I had a very very strong
American accent because my teachers in Brazil, they all had American accents and
then when I came to the UK, I fell in love with the British accent and somehow
my brain was able to completely change my accent from being American to British.
And my husband being British, at the time when we were going out,
we were still boyfriend and girlfriend. He is Welsh, and my brain just sucked in
his Welsh accent, and now I have kind of like a Welsh accent, mixed in with a
Brazilian accent and whatever accents I’ve have absorbed throughout the years.
But mostly Welsh, I think. I pick up accents very quickly,
even in Portuguese. It’s quite funny, actually. Because if I’m
talking to someone – a Brazilian person with a different accent to mine,
my accent morphs into their accent. I really have no control over it – it just happens.
So that happened in English as well. The more I spent time with British people, the more my accent got better,
and I just kept on speaking. Now that that part is over, let’s get on
to my top tips for speaking English and making yourself understood in a
foreign language when you’re living abroad. My first tip, and I think this is the
most important tip when you’re struggling to make yourself understood
in a foreign language is: make it easy for people to understand you.
Pronounce your words, open your mouth and say the words. Don’t mumble,
don’t speak quietly, because people will find it difficult to understand you,
especially with the accent and all. If you’re talking about: ‘Do you want a cup of tea?’
It might seem silly, but that can save a lot frustration
when you’re trying to communicate and people can’t understand
what you’re saying. Gesticulate with your hands, use your mouth,
use your facial expressions. And along the same lines, try to pronounce things from your native
language in a way that people can understand. For example, Brazilian football players
are very very popular abroad. And that’s a topic of conversation whenever
people find that I’m from Brazil. And one football player that you may know
very well is, Ronaldo. Now, being from Brazil I wouldn’t say ‘Ronaldo’ if I was
talking to a Brazilian person. I would say ‘Ronaldo’,
because that’s how we say it in Portuguese. But, if I say that to someone who speaks English only,
or who only heard his name in the English media being referred to as ‘Ronaldo’, that’s
going to cause a little bit of miscommunication. So instead of making that conversation easier,
you’re making it harder, if you know what I mean, by pronouncing it the way that
you would in Portuguese. So if you know how people
in English-speaking countries speak certain words from your native language,
then make it easier for them. Why not? It doesn’t really matter, you’re not making a mistake.
The important thing is that you know that you know
the way it’s supposed to be said, but in that particular context, it’s much easier
for you to make it easier for yourself and for the person that you’re speaking to. My second tip is: don’t obsess
over your mistakes. They really don’t matter that much,
and if you told me that when I was learning English as a teenager, I wouldn’t have followed your advice,
but I hope some of you will. As a teenager I worried far too much
about my mistakes and about what other people thought of what I was saying wrong,
and that prevented me from starting conversations because I didn’t
want to make mistakes, especially in English. The first time I came to the UK I would not start a conversation,
I would wait until someone would start a conversation with me, because I was too
worried of saying things the wrong way. But soon enough I realised
by talking to people how little they care about your mistakes.
If you’re trying your best, and you’re speaking most of it correctly, or
if you’re getting the general gist of the conversation correctly, people really don’t care that much.
Even native speakers of English make mistakes. And that’s something that you’ll learn.
That your grammar will be much better than a lot of native speakers. Obviously there
are a lot of people in English-speaking countries that have amazing grammar and
things like that, but you’ll be surprised how good your Grammar and your knowledge
of the English language is, coming from learning English as a foreign language.
So don’t obsess over your mistakes. If you feel like you’ve made a mistake,
don’t stop a conversation to correct yourself. Just carry on speaking and
keep the conversation flowing, and that will make you more confident. You know in your mind
that you made a mistake, but you’ll correct it next time.
Don’t worry that person is not gonna judge you on that mistake, it’s just going to make
life a little bit easier if you’re trying to communicate in a foreign language. Tip number three is: practice, practice, practice.
Whenever you can, wherever you can. If you have a friend abroad
that you talk to online, talk to them on skype, talk to them on Facetime,
but actually talk to them. Writing is good, but you will only get your fluency
by practicing your speaking. And if you’ve learned English as a second
language, you know the very important parts of English, such as writing, reading
listening and speaking. And speaking is, by far I think the hardest one for people to
achieve fluency in. if you know anyone in town that speaks
English as a first language, go and speak to them and just practice as much as you can. But if you can’t do that, practice on your own, even in your house.
I used to do that all the time in my bedroom. I used to have conversations with myself,
and you can call me crazy, but that really really helped me because I kind
of practiced the way that I wanted to say certain things and the way that the
sounds come out of my mouth. because a lot of sounds we don’t have in our
native languages if you’re speaking a foreign language for example in English
we have the th sound which is a the employees we don’t have that sounds so
that’s the sound that you have to learn and I remember sitting in my bedroom
with a list of words that start with th and literally seeing them all out loud
and practicing that th sound I remember watching friends on the TV
with subtitles on in Portuguese and trying to copy what they were saying and
the dialogues and you know the intonation and just practicing just
literally being interested in the language and practicing as much as I can
and that leads me on to tip number 4 rehearse monologues and conversations in
the privacy of your home before you go and speak to other people and what I
mean by that is you know the general topics of conversation that come up when
you’re talking to the people like talking about where are you from you know where were
you born what do you do what do you study and what do you think of this do you
like tea what kind of drinks do you do drink what’s your favorite food just the general conversation topics
rehearse your answers what would you save someone asked you what’s your
favorite food do you know what’s your favorite food in English go and look
that out and rehearse it beforehand and if someone asked what’s your job going
and rehearse how to say that in English also rehearse a few questions as well so
that you can ask them a few questions and where do they live and what are
their hobbies what they like doing how old are they and things like that and that is so so
useful to have because then whenever that sprung on to you on a conversation
you don’t freeze and panic because you think God I have all this vocabulary in
my brain but I just can’t get it out in a sentence but if you practice beforehand then you
have these sentences sentences ready in your brain to be used and I used to do
that all the time I think my mom and my sister probably
thought I was absolutely insane because i used to speak to myself in the bedroom
just rehearsing the dialogues with myself in English literally I’d have full-on conversations about
nothing or everything with myself but I think that really helps tip number five is speak confidently
even if you’re not confident in your English that can be a little bit
intimidating but if you get the balance right of being confident and being
humble at the same time in admitting that you don’t know everything then I
think that’s the perfect mix if you too arrogant in your English you’re saying
that you know it all you won’t get any sympathy from people
who can detect that in the conversation but if you’re confident but at the same
time you admit that you don’t know certain things you know kind of like
asking them like hinting that you need a little help maybe you’re talking about a
ship and you don’t know certain parts of the ship what are they named in English so you
can say to them you know a ship what’s that part called you know just kind of
be gauged a little bit but be confident and what you’re speaking and I think
that really helps with making yourself understood and that leads me on to tip
number six which is if you can’t find the word try describing what the word
means very very often i’ll be speaking to someone and I won’t know a certain
word or I will have forgotten it completely and i still want to carry on
that conversation without interrupting me to go and look in the dictionary or
to go and try and get my brain working and so whilst you’re in the conversation
in the middle of it if you forget a word try describing what
it means for example if you’re talking about a DSLR camera and you can’t
remember what the word DSLR is you say you know those big can Rose that usually have the detachable
lens I’m sure someone else will say yeah DSLR camera so you know they will help
you out in the conversation if you’re asking for help them in the right way
but if you stop and you say i can’t remember what I’m trying to say then
that person that you’re trying to speak to won’t be able to help you because
they also don’t know what you’re trying to say so yeah make yourself easier to help by
describing what you mean when you don’t know what you want to say tip number Seven’s to look for
alternative words of the words that you don’t know and all i can think of right
now is that most of the times i don’t know the name of social fruits and there
are only available in Brazil I don’t know the translation to english and if
I’m in the middle of a conversation i will refer to the fruit as the general
category for example if it’s a type of orange a specific type of orange i’ll
say we have an orange and this kind of orange does this and that tastes like
this and looks like that instead of trying to find what that name of the
specific orange is so that’s just like a small example but you can find lots of
synonyms and similar words to the things that you don’t know you don’t
necessarily have to go for that specific words that you don’t know tip number eight don’t be afraid to ask
people to repeat things if you don’t hear them it’s much better than being
misunderstood or misunderstanding other people the majority of people are very
kind when you say pardon or when you say sorry I didn’t hear you can you repeat
that please just don’t be afraid of asking people to repeat things that you
didn’t hear tip number nine is to surround yourself
and immerse yourself in the language that you’re trying to learn as much as
possible even if you don’t live in an english-speaking country or you’re
trying to learn English but you don’t have many English friends try to immerse
yourself in terms of TV shows music and reading one thing I used to love doing
was buying books in English and yes they were a challenge and yes they took a lot
longer to read that they did in Portuguese but it paid off because
nowadays I can read any books in and it would take me just as much time
as it will in portuguese i read the whole harry potter series in English
when I was 15 and I found the first couple of books harder because i was
getting used to it but from then onwards even if there were words that i didn’t
understand i would try and understand the context and that helped with the
region as well region is a great way because you learned so many new words
when you’re reading and it’s not something that people usually make time
for these days with the internet and with YouTube and people kind of spend
their time or watching videos and reading blog post rather than reading a
book but it’s so important to read books the vocabulary that you get from reading
a book you can’t get it anywhere else well you can probably but in my opinion
I think you get a lot out of a book tip number 10 and my last tip is to
listen carefully it’s so important to listen to what when
other people are speaking but especially if they’re speaking in the language
that’s not your first language because it will be much harder to understand
people if you tune out a little bit if you
don’t listen to everything that they’re saying also trying to lip-read as well
if you can’t hear what they’re saying that sometimes helps if you’re talking
to someone in a very loud place and it’s really hard to hear them look at their
mouths and time trying to figure out what they’re saying like that that is a
very basic tip but it’s something that’s so important and if you neglect that it
may cause a lot of confusion if you miss what people are saying because you
weren’t listening so this is my story of how I became
fluent in English and my top 10 tips for speaking and making yourself understood
in a foreign language if you have any questions about my
english speaking journey that make sure to leave them in the comments below and
if you have any other questions about you know living abroad or speaking
English as a foreign language I’ll be more than happy to answer your
questions if you like this video make sure to give it a thumbs up and if
you’re not subscribed to my channel already make sure you do so you don’t
miss any of my videos thank you so much for watching and I’ll
see you in my next video bye


  1. Nice video and great tips you shared. You look like Pakistani (my native country) or Indian. Your accent is very good but I couldn't differentiate it is american or british. I want to improve my pronunciation regardless american or british, could you please help me?

  2. Speaking to yourself…boooii I've been doing that since ages and thought that I was the only one who was crazy enough to do so….but there you go!

  3. Your accent sounds quite Welsh! (I'm English) did you happen to spend some time in Wales?

    Edit: omg you just said you have a Welsh accent! Haha knew I had a good ear

  4. ??Hey beautiful lady I have not property talk about English language so could you please help me translate hindu. ?

  5. I literally learned how to speak english by watching youtube 24/7.Everyone asks me how the hell do I speak english fluently and also have a great pronounciation.Im like:I watch a lot of youtube m8

  6. I'm 62 years old and I think your vocabulary is greater than mine… I just retired a week ago and plan to spend my winter in SE Asia… I want to work towards conversing in their language.. This has helped me in my reluctance in making mistakes… Thank You!!

  7. Wow! Your English is really good. Your accent and confidence are literally excellent, I wish to be hearing you all day. I guess the majority of the audience who had watched this would recommend it as the best. Thank you.

  8. Very impressive 4 a perdón who'S only been 6 years over there way 2go girl greetings from Mexico,hope u have a great day???????✌✌✌✌???

  9. But I think the greatest factor that made you that good is by living in UK. I mean, you dont really have to make lots of effort to learn that language if you're going to the place where that language is being spoken… You can just learn it along the way.

  10. hi I am a student from delhi(India). I feel nominal problem in writing. but in speaking I feel so much problem. so I want to polish my english with all way. and I want to make my speaking english effective. please tell me anyone has some idea about this. it is my humble request to all and if anyone want to practice english. call only serious student. he/she can contact. my what's up 8383042582

  11. Yes your english is perfect,better than some english people(i’m english by the way)your accent is very english and no hint of Portuguese?

  12. Its hard for me to speak english but when i am watching enlglish movies i almost understand them even without subtittles.

  13. I'm not good at listening skill and speaking skill,can you please tell me how should I do to improve my English language?

  14. Right or wrong speak you become fluent
    We all have little idiosyncrasies. Those habits are some people think that wrong . Others think that right

  15. A lot of idioms in english language. Very difficult to learn english. A lot of exception, expressions. You must be born w/this language. Fluency in english is only a dream.

  16. I found your tips very useful, and it's funny that when I was 10 years old (about 30 yrs ago) I instinctively followed the same "rules". At that time I just looooved English language and I wanted to be surrounded with it. I listened TV programs and music, and I learned English like a child learns his/her first language (my mother tongue is Hungarian). Now with 40 years I'm learning Spanish and I do the same 🙂 And as I heard you saying "Rio de Janeiro", I loved it very much, so Portugal may be the next language 🙂

  17. Amazing! I think you are native English speaker! You speak English so well! I hope to speak it well soon 😀

  18. I speak better than u even though I don't know how to speak English ? but one thing is same between us we both love languages I wish I were in america some day and I 'll teaching u how to be a good teacher u r speaking like no one hearing u ☺️

  19. I have decided to speak english quite like you. I have the chance to take the accent from people i am speaking to ( like you). It is amazing but it is true. Unfortunately I am 90 years old but I don't mind about my age. I am working a lot and I enjoyed your video. I speak portuguese a little.

  20. Honestly, your accent is incredible. At first, I thought that you were a native speaker!!. Really congrats!. What you did before becoming fluent in English language, is what surprised me the most. Like you I fall in love with this amazing language!!. The best way to learn a language is becoming passionate about it. Keep up your motivation high on a daily basis??

  21. Your English is absolutely amazing, but the beauty of your accent and the gorgeousness of your face made watch your video till end.

  22. Improve english by voice chat and video chat ..follow below link on whatApp group.

  23. Hi dear. I am a keen learner of English and I have been learning from the last 8 months. Although I am good at short conversations. I am facing one problem in speaking on a topic, Whenever any topic is given to me. I fumble and make mistakes in sentences. I know it can be achieved by practice, but need to know How should I practice to speak for a long time(let's say 10 minutes) and make it should look like natural English

  24. Hi, Ysis. I want to know what's your motivation.
    Many people seem like to give up learning before become speaking fluently.
    I think we have to have great guts to practice English as a second language.

  25. Thanks for the great tips Yasis.

    How should I go by finding someone who can not only help me improve my English but also help improve my communication skills on how to start, end and maintain a conversation.

    Since a kid I've always been like an introvert.. quiet, private, but not shy.
    But I will change that, I'm soon going to start my own digital marketing agency and I want to be able to build relationships with business owners communicate with them and make sure Im able to do a presentation that will be simple for them to understand.. I most of the times make it seem complicated.

  26. I think women with thick accents attractive especially women from romania and Jamaica I had a teacher named Mrs strater when I was in high school had a thick Romanian accent and I have a substitute teacher when I was in high school had a thick Jamaican accent you sound Australian or british

  27. Ma'am you are so great…. i also want to get to speak english language… can you please just mention your email id or any id to get you…. i have rejected from many job opportunities beacuase of this english speaking problem
    Can you please help me out

  28. It's the first time I watch one your videos, Ysis!! Congratulations!! Your English is outstanding!! And thanks a lot for your excellent tips!!

  29. Hello Ysis, are you all right ? I’m here to thank you for this amazing video, I’m from Brazil as well and I’ve been living in Uk for 1 year about and your video give me motivation to keep going to learn! Thank you very much, I really appreciate that ! Cheers !

  30. Can I speak with you on skype? I have a interview in the next 2 weeks and I'm not confident in my English speaking skills.

  31. Worrying too much about making mistakes when you were younger
    Is withot doubt the reason you bacame fluent.

  32. By watching this video and listening to your speaking English I can say that you have a very high level of this language.:=)

    It must be understandable that it's almost impossible to fully learn a foreign language and communicate in this foreign language without even any mistakes.

    Therefore, we should not hesitate to make any mistakes while speaking English.The only thing we can do is to improve our English level and make it as good as possible.

    Thanks a lot for your video!

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