The language barrier may be one of your biggest challenges as you adapt to life in Kentucky after traveling to the United States from another country of origin. If one of your ultimate goals is to become a naturalized U.S. citizen, you must prove that you can read, write, speak and understand English. Doing so is part of the test you will take as you navigate the citizenship process.
There are several ways you can improve your English skills. In fact, it’s a good idea to learn as much as you can about American culture, history and government, in addition to how to speak English. The more you know, the greater chance you have of making a good impression on immigration interview officials and of passing your citizenship tests. It’s also good to carry a list of resources with contact information, in case any type of legal problem arises regarding your status.
Use it or lose it
This is a common saying in the U.S., and it definitely can pertain to language skills. The more you practice speaking English, the greater fluency you can develop. If you are shy about trying to pronounce words in English, you may never have the opportunity to progress in your skill level. Are you worried about sounding silly if you pronounce something wrong?
Just remember that even fully fluent English-speaking citizens make pronunciation, spelling or grammar mistakes sometimes. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Do the best you can, and ask someone you trust to help you if you struggle with certain words, word usages or pronunciation.
Listening to others speak is a great learning tool
Whether you use audio tapes, videos or simply pay close attention when others are speaking to you in person, the more you hear the English language, the more comfortable you might feel with using it yourself. In addition to listening to English, try to spend some time each day reading things written in English and, also, writing words in English too.
Give yourself a challenge per week
Each week, choose a goal and set out to reach it, such as ordering food in English in a restaurant or introducing yourself to a new friend using English. As you meet your goals, you’ll find it less and less stressful to converse in English.
Benefits of mastering English
Learning to speak, read, write and understand English can definitely help you feel more at home as you begin a new lifestyle in Kentucky. It may also increase your chances of obtaining gainful employment. Mastering English is especially helpful toward becoming a U.S. citizen. It’s also a lot easier to reach out for legal support if you can do so in English.