First week…

(The tourist)

Once I was in Sydney, I just understood between 40% and 50% of what people were saying to me. Some may consider this level of comprehension as acceptable in the early stages, but I strongly believe I was missing or misunderstanding a crucial part of the conversations.

For instance, there was an expression that the restaurant cashiers always told me but I never understood. They always asked me a question, and I always said “YES”. I used to asked them to repeat the question. Kindly, they just repeated that question and… again… I didn’t understand. I think I listened to it more than 100 times (I’m exaggerating, but I listened  so many times indeed) and I just didn’t catch it. 

Here you are the question I hadn’t been able to catch.

To dine in or to take away?

(Here you are what I was listening at these moments: 

jwjh wjdewjdd  kljlkwh dlw lkhe $&^*^ HGGJHGYU^R^$ ds?).

Just a simple and straightforward question, don’t you think?

(After a few days I decided to say: “I just want you to sell that meal to me. It doesn’t matter how”).

Taking into account the above information I decided to start my conversation with the following sentence: “My english is not quite good but I’ll try to express that…”. And I said it so many times during several weeks because I definitely knew I couldn’t understand and express ideas fluently. I thought that sentence gave context to my interlocutor about my english skill and my willingness to try to convey. In contrast, when I brought it up I always thought “I definitely want to stop saying that sentence, I hate it”. It reminds me that I am not good enough at speaking yet.

By the way, the first week was quite unusual because I had not yet started neither my English course nor my work routine. Then, I didn’t get to practice my second language so much. I spent a lot of time exploring the city, its beaches, and restaurants. I walked around the city center and familiarized myself with the public transportation system. Of course, I also visited iconic places such as the Opera House, Harbour Bridge, Anzac Bridge, Opera Bar, Barangaroo Bay, and several beaches, including Coogee Beach (my favorite), Gordon’s Bay, Bronte Beach, Clovelly Beach, Bondi Beach, Manly, and I even witnessed the most beautiful sunset I’ve ever seen at Watson Bay Hotel Boutique.

In essence, I strongly believe I am very far away from an acceptable English level and I should make a very big effort to improve.

Here, I’m like a company that has just started. I only have a plan and some strategy that is very likely to change in 180 degrees. 

First week insights:


The first week is the period in which you can test yourself for the first time, experiencing a new culture and language. However, don’t get stressed; this initial period might represent far less than 1% of your international experience. Don’t worry about it at all, just enjoy it. I wish that somebody had told me that.


Don’t be shy, speak even if you’re not understood. The sooner you start speaking, the sooner you’ll lose your shyness or embarrassment. 

Take the risk. Some very useful contexts in which you can practice for free are those where you are a customer because companies (restaurants, shops, supermarkets and so forth) tend to improve their customer service so feel free to talk, ask, apply for something and take advantage to listen. 

You can’t wait till you are “prepared” to speak. “

A common sentence in startup environment would be:

“The plane has to be assemble with flying”


Don’t leave aside your English classes. This is a very useful environment to solve specific doubts, understand grammatical structures in order to think in your new language and get vocabulary.


In my personal opinion, speaking skills are the most challenging. I’m not an exception to this. I haven’t practiced my English skills for a long time, and I struggle to express ideas and situations smoothly and accurately. That’s why writing is my strategy to remember grammatical structures, words, expressions, and the most challenging aspect for me: developing my English thinking process. Notably, my writings have many mistakes and opportunities for improvement but I’m going to carry on with this strategy to track my process.


    1. Struggling with my patience.

    1. Feeling frustrated because I can’t provide a detailed explanation of my ideas.

    1. Patience is not my strength and I’ve begun to feel a slight discomfort with myself

    1. I’ve enjoyed this spectacular city.

    1. I really like this challenge. It’s been a huge challenge for me.

    1. I spent more than 4 hours writing only 3 pages…

    1. I’m tired it’s 1:40 am 

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