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How often have you been learning English then hanging out for that time when you can use it in real life and get something as a result, or convey something important? That’s what we call the ‘window of opportunity’, and once you find this window of opportunity, it suddenly propels your English level forward.
So many language learners get bogged down with the technical side and forget about the most important part – looking for the windows of opportunities. But how can you see these when they come along?
If you are living in a country where you are surrounded by many people who firstly don’t speak your mother tongue and/or secondly have a little English just like you? This is good news for the beginner. All those questions you learn in your elementary class – ‘How are you? Where are you from? ‘ etc, come out very easily. But the question is when do these opportunities present themselves?
Well here are a few scenarios:
- Buying something in the supermarket.
You all have to go to the cashier. A simple greeting, of Hi how are you? Can open up a simple short conversation.
- Using a taxi.
If the driver is willing to talk you can get a lot of information not only across from your side, but he/she may be interested in telling you some interesting things too.
- Using the train station/bus station and any other commuter area.
Simple greetings for the ticket seller, or the security guard of the bus driver, can take your confidence to a new level.
- Sitting next to someone on a bus or train.
You are on a journey together, try a simple conversation, or if you feel your confidence is up, and the person appears willing, try some conversation about this country or directions, most people will respond.
- In a restaurant.
A short simple conversation with the waiter about a beautiful day or delicious food can be easy to start and not difficult.
- In the classroom.
If you have another classmate in our class who doesn’t speak your language, arrange a coffee with them at break time, they will be just as grateful as you to engage in the conversation, even if you are only talking about the teacher!
There are of course many more. The key for your window of opportunity is to not expect too much. Consider a simple conversation at the beginning and over time, you will see opportunities everywhere, and the more you use them the greater your English will become.