Being a foreigner in the Arts
Last week I posted some tips about promoting a show or an event. I was delighted to see how many people wrote to me to simply say thank you and to ask me other questions. Between all the enquiries received there was one that I found particularly interesting, and I have decided to write this new post based on that question.
I am struggling with my English, I move here 1 and half year ago from Spain and since then, I am really finding hard to find a real job, I am loosing confidence.
What does it mean to come from another country and constantly working in English ensuring that the others will take you seriously?
Well, it is really hard!
When I moved here my English was genuinely poor and I have had to work truly hard in order to improve it.
You see, I am Italian, and often I have to cope with: ‘Oh well, your English is so much better than my Italian!’
What does that even mean? Are you living in Italy? NO, that’s why your Italian is not fluent!
I have to duel daily with the cliché that we are all ‘pizza and mandolino’, very lazy and moving-hands lovers! Well I love pizza and I love to move my hands when I speak but I am also conscious of my limit and ready to fight my language barriers!
So here is an easy list to follow:
1 Recognize your limits
You are not English and probably you’re never going to sound like someone from Hammersmith, but you can improve and learn to speak very well. So don’t put too much pressure on yourself, accept your initial language obstructions and get ready to push your limit!
2 Get English friends
Try to spend as much time as possible with people from the UK. You will pick up expressions that you won’t find in English grammar books. You will improve your pronunciation and have the chance to ask them about grammar rules.
3 Accept critiques
You must accept critique on your spoken English and move on! Ask your friends to correct you anytime that you make a mistake; this way you will improve faster than you think! Everyone at La Scatola knows to correct me when I make a mistake, I don’t take it personally, I like to think that they are doing me a favour, a big one.
You need to study, there is no way that you will speak good English without dedicating some time to practice and to studying grammar rules.
Now you will tell me: “But I don’t have the money for an English course!”
Well I know many ways that you can improve without spending a penny!!
Everyday I practice for at least an hour. Here are some websites that you will find extremely useful:
This exercise lasts 6 minutes, it helps you with pronunciation and with your written English. You will discover new vocabulary and on top of that you will get to know what is going on around you. The contents are all from the news from all over the world! In the same website you will find quizzes and grammar games, just browse around and pick what suits you best.
This is my personal favorite; here you have a text from a recent news story, a voice is reading aloud for you to follow; in this way you can check tricky words and test your pronunciation. At the end of the reading the voice repeats a series of words, also giving the meaning of each of these words, so here you have the grammar, the pronunciation, the news and some new words for your vocabulary!
Here you can pick a text from the news and select your level, from beginner to advanced. Generally all of these articles are really interesting and before you know it you will discover so many things!
This is all about pronunciation!
Perfect for improving your listening and expanding your knowledge. I love TED, there are so many great videos available and a lot of topics are about the Arts.
All of this will take you an hour, so start today to improve your English, don’t be lazy.
5 Trust yourself!
Always trust yourself, try to use new words, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes, just try to speak about anything you feel like sharing.
If you feel confident everyone will believe that you are and will be willing to listen to you and engage with you in conversation.
It’s all up to you!
Let me know how it goes!