Alhamdulillah Allah still gives us one more chance to work hard for the sake of Him :)
Right, I'm writing this cause I saw a status from my junior here in Auckland, saying that he find difficulties in speaking English and somehow I can see that the junior is pretty much upset and give up with himself. So, that's why I'm making a post with this kind of title, intentionally, to benefit someone that in need to improve her/his English.
First of all, now I'm a second year student and yes, I was a bad English speaker. I once feel so low confidence when it comes to speak in English. I came from a SMKA school which is pretty much I can say we don't really practice English in the school. We speak Malay everyday and we don't have any classmates from different race. All students are Malay.
After I entered my preparation college, KMB, I was stunned by the students there. You know what I mean, the students are all from those prestigious schools like you name it. So, I was really demotivated at that time but I tried my best to speak in English even though I don't really nail it like others. I remembered one of my best classmates or friends (now I should say akhawat) tried so hard to teach me English. I mean, back then, my grammar was not good especially when it comes to speaking English, I got all present and past tenses mixed up.
It was the help from people surrounding like my English teacher, my classmates really help me a lot. There are many individuals like me tried and worked really hard to become a good English speaker. These people really inspired me to never give up and yes, you can do it if you really want to!
So, alhamdulillah, now I can speak English with anyone in my university. Be it lecturer or lab tutor or any classmates or lab partner, insyaAllah now I can say that I'm confident to speak English with them. Yup, surely my grammar is not perfect and I always get that "pause moment" to find suitable words to say it in English. I would say, I am still improving my English. Still, there are times that I don't really get what they want to point out especially when one speaks fast with a low voice.
What I learnt is just practice even though you sucks at it (can I use that word?). No , I use it cause I want you who feel like you cannot speak English and have low-self esteem like myself before to slap yourself and say, "Actually, I can do thisss!!"
In my first year here, I tried to speak with anyone with this not-so-good English. I started at first like when I say a sentence to someone, I will stress the keyword to the person whom I talked to. For example, one of my classmates asked me, "What was the hardest part in the lab just now?"
I answered, "Oh, that part when we DISSECT THE RAT." (caps-lock means I stress that words)
The reason I did that because I was not a good sentence maker so I just highlight the keyword that I want the person to hear so that he/she will understand my point. Yup, I was so low confidence to speak English that I speak with a low tone.
Yup, that was my first step.
Second step would be just go talk to the other person whom you have to speak English to. Alhamdulillah Allah has made me in the situation where I always get lab partner who is not Malaysian. I know it's kind of frustrating but no pain, no gain, right? Just bear with it and keep trying. Keep on speaking with others. I mean you can speak English with your Malay friends too. I bet they are in the same boat with you.
If anyone doesn't like to speak to us, the person will try stay away from us. So what? Just go to the other person and speak English again. You don't to have be sad with the matter because maybe that person cannot handle it but as far as I know, they are many people that are really helpful and glad to speak English with you.
Like here in New Zealand, people in services like those who work at the counter or bank or library etc, they're really helpful. There was a time when I asked them to repeat their sentences twice and they are okay with that. They cannot be angry at us because we are the customer. That's one good thing about services here compared to Malaysia. The workers are more patient.
The last step would be try to hear as much as you can from anyone and copy what they say. Just copy the good not the bad okay. For example, when I went to food court to get something to eat, I learn to order food by copying what they say. That's what I did when my first time to order food.
You say, "Hi! Can I get one chicken kebab please?" and so on.
Whatever things that you want to ask from someone, you need to mention the word "please" at the last sentence. It's called bersopan-santun in Malay.
If you want to get better in listening to English, you can try to listen to various lectures from great Islamic speakers. You can improve your listening skill and what's more important, your IMAN! Try Nouman Ali Khan lectures or Yasmin Mogahed or Imam Suhaib Webb or AlQuran Weekly. Seriously, they are awesome muslim people that will never let you down! People say like they keep listening to Rihanna or Justin Bieber to improve their English. There are so many ways to get your English better other than listening to all these craps.
Remember, Allah is watching us 24-7. (this is for me, actually)
Okay, last words, just speak English with a smile. If you lost words, just keep calm and think what's the word in your head and at the same time, you can drag the conversation by saying, "How do we say this..hurm..oh yah, it's called _______"
I think that is all. Hope this helps.