The London Evening Standard ran an article recently about the problems faced by long-term residents in the UK who can feel socially excluded by their limited English ability.
The article features a Bangladeshi lady who decided to turn her life around. She now works for the same organisation that helped her to achieve her goal of speaking fluent English.
Parents who have come to the UK and settled in immigrant communities will usually find their children grow up with English as a first language. This can be a cultural as well as a language barrier between the generations if parents can’t speak English themselves.
Learning a new language might feel like a lot to take on, but it’s surprising how much you can learn if you make a habit of regular study, if only for a few hours every week.
Of course, if you learn English in the UK, you have the advantage of living in a native-speaking country where English surrounds you. The challenge is to overcome the fear of interacting with others and to build confidence in your ability to communicate.
It’s true that a minority of people seem to have a special ability to pick up a new language simply by living in a country that speaks it, but the rest of us often need the extra support of regular language lessons and the chance to develop our confidence with fellow students of the same level.
Maybe you have a friend or relative who has lived in the UK for some time, but has problems communicating in wider society because they lack the confidence to study and speak English. This story shows that it’s never too late to learn!