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How Knowing English Transformed My Life: A Journey of Opportunities and Growth

Learning a language can have a profound impact on one's life, opening doors to new opportunities and experiences. For me, the decision to learn English at the age of seven proved to be life-changing. Despite moments of frustration and self-doubt, my dedication and love for the language propelled me forward. In this blog post, I will share how knowing English transformed my life, paving the way for remarkable experiences and shaping my personal and professional journey.

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English as a Catalyst: The Profound Impact on My Life’s Trajectory

I am Juliana Sweeney, the author of this blog. Learning a language can have a profound impact on one’s life, opening doors to new opportunities and experiences. For me, the decision to learn English at the age of seven proved to be life-changing. Despite moments of frustration and self-doubt, my dedication and love for the language propelled me forward. In this blog post, I will share how knowing English transformed my life, paving the way for remarkable experiences and shaping my personal and professional journey.

An Unforgettable Exchange Program in Australia

At the age of 16, my fluency in English allowed me to embark on an exchange program with Rotary in Australia. I arrived with the ability to communicate effortlessly, which enabled me to forge meaningful connections with fascinating individuals, partake in exciting activities, and fully immerse myself in the exchange year.

I also had the chance to visit Indigenous cultural centers, museums, and art galleries. It was a remarkable experience that allowed me to delve into the rich traditions, history, and spirituality of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. I engaged in immersive activities such as bushwalks through ancient landscapes, joined guided tours led by knowledgeable Indigenous guides, climbed Ayers Rock, went balooning over the Olgas and learned about art, music, and storytelling. These experiences provided me with a profound understanding and appreciation of the richness of the Australian culture, fostering a deep respect for their traditions and heritage.

Little did I know that this adventure would lead me to meet my future husband at school, further solidifying the profound impact of English on my life.

how knowing English transformed my life
Unforgettable moments as a Rotary Exchange Student

Gaining Admission to Brazil’s Top University

As one of the most prestigious universities in Brazil, USP (University of São Paulo) sets rigorous standards for admission, especially in the field of engineering, which is what I studied initially. The entrance exam, known as the vestibular, requires extensive preparation and covers a wide range of subjects, including Portuguese, English, mathematics, physics, and chemistry. Students vying for a spot in the engineering program must showcase exceptional academic performance and demonstrate a strong aptitude for problem-solving and critical thinking. The competition is fierce, with a limited number of seats available, leading to high-stakes exams and intense preparation.

However, my proficiency in English played a pivotal role in securing my spot at the country’s best university. Achieving a perfect score in English and a strong score in Portuguese significantly bolstered my chances of success. English became my competitive advantage, proving instrumental in shaping my academic path.

Teaching English: A Passion Unveiled

While pursuing my university education, I seized the opportunity to teach English. This not only provided me with additional income but also served as a platform for practicing and improving my English skills. Teaching someone else is a powerful way to deepen your understanding of a subject. When you explain concepts and ideas to others, you are forced to organize your thoughts, clarify complex information, and present it in a clear and concise manner. This process challenges you to truly grasp the material at a deeper level, as you must anticipate questions and provide comprehensive explanations.

Teaching also encourages active engagement with the subject matter, as you constantly seek new ways to convey information effectively. Furthermore, when you teach, you may encounter different perspectives or questions from the learner, prompting you to explore the topic from various angles and broaden your own knowledge. Ultimately, teaching not only benefits the learner but also enhances your own understanding and mastery of the subject.

Little did I know that this first teaching experience would ignite a passion that would eventually become my full-time career. Teaching English became my calling, and it continues to bring me immense joy and fulfillment to this day.

An Internship Adventure in Spain

During my time at university, I secured an internship in Spain. I lived in Barcelona for three months, and it was a truly unforgettable experience. From the moment I arrived, I was captivated by the vibrant energy and unique atmosphere of the city. The rich history and stunning architecture, from the iconic Sagrada Familia to the intricate details of the Gothic Quarter, took my breath away.

Wandering through the bustling streets, I immersed myself in the lively Catalan culture, indulging in delicious tapas, exploring local markets, and sipping on refreshing sangria and mojitos. The city’s vibrant art scene, with its world-class museums and vibrant street art, left me inspired and in awe. As I strolled along the picturesque waterfront and soaked in the Mediterranean sunshine, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of wanderlust and appreciation for the diverse and cosmopolitan nature of Barcelona. It was an adventure filled with unforgettable moments, and I can’t wait to return to this enchanting city again.

While my grasp of the Spanish language was limited and I didn’t speak any Catalan at all, my fluency in English proved invaluable. It allowed me to effortlessly communicate with colleagues, immerse myself in the local culture, and forge connections with people and places I might not have encountered otherwise. English became the bridge that connected me with the vibrant world around me.

Fast-Tracking Graduation in Australia

With a solid foundation in English, I had the remarkable opportunity to pursue my university education in Australia. Unlike many international students who are required to undertake years of English Proficiency courses and tests, my proficiency in English granted me direct entry into the university. This accelerated my path to graduation, enabling me to achieve my academic goals more swiftly.

My graduation. Bachelor of Civil Engineering with first class honours: sharing the moment with my awesome husband and my son (in my belly – I was about 24 weeks pregnant).

Australia: My Beloved Home

As a culmination of my language journey, I now proudly call Australia my home. The fluency I acquired in English made my transition seamless, enabling me to integrate into Australian society effortlessly. The language not only facilitated my professional growth but also allowed me to form deep connections with the community, fostering a sense of belonging and fulfillment.

Outcomes

My decision to learn English at a young age has been transformative, reshaping the trajectory of my life in countless ways. From embarking on an exchange program to securing admission to a prestigious university, teaching English, embarking on an internship abroad, fast-tracking my graduation, and ultimately finding a new home in Australia, English has been the key that unlocked a world of opportunities and personal growth.

Reflection

Reflecting on my language learning journey, I am grateful for the profound impact English has had on transforming my life. From embarking on an unforgettable exchange program and securing admission to a prestigious university, to teaching English, embarking on an internship abroad, and finding a new home in Australia, English has been the key to unlocking a world of opportunities and personal growth. If you are inspired to embark on your own language learning journey,

I invite you to explore two valuable resources: BeeLingwee bilingual books, authored by me, which offer a fun and effective way to learn languages, and Fluency School’s private English classes, designed to enhance your language skills. Seize the opportunity today and unlock your own extraordinary potential.

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