Those of you who lived abroad as a child Watch

Sinirastas
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This question is for those who moved to another country as a child, where majority of people spoke language other than your native language.

- How fast did you get grasp of the new language - when where you able to use it for communication?
- How old were you, and did you attend to local nursery/school?

Bonus: Do you still know/use that second language, especially if you have since moved back to your home country or somewhere else?
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shawn_o1
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Moved to the UK as a child in 2000 (aged 6), back in my home country now until September. My home country already had English as an official language. It has another official language (Chinese) which I pretty much can't speak now. But maybe it's my fault for not trying. No social skills = not fluent in any language
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Sinirastas
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(Original post by shawn_o1)
But maybe it's my fault for not trying. No social skills = not fluent in any language
Did your family encourage you to keep learning Chinese while living in UK?
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TheWaffle
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(Original post by Sinirastas)
This question is for those who moved to another country as a child, where majority of people spoke language other than your native language.

- How fast did you get grasp of the new language - when where you able to use it for communication?
- How old were you, and did you attend to local nursery/school?

Bonus: Do you still know/use that second language, especially if you have since moved back to your home country or somewhere else?
Hey

Moved to France aged 7. Was put into a French Primary school where no one spoke any English. It was gradual process. At first I relied mostly on sign language but I understood more and more and gradually built up the confidence to speak. I'd say I could comunicate from about 7- 12 months but I'm not sure. By the time we left France after 18 months, I was completely fluent and could write + read. I still speak fluent French and study it at a Russel Group.
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shawn_o1
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(Original post by Sinirastas)
Did your family encourage you to keep learning Chinese while living in UK?
Initially they taught me. But then they found a "Chinese school" in the UK, put me in it, and all went downhill. All I got was a GCSE in the language i.e. the ability to understand it. I only know the most basic of phrases that'll at least allow me to communicate with my grandparents who know no English whatsoever...
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Katiekj25
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(Original post by Sinirastas)
This question is for those who moved to another country as a child, where majority of people spoke language other than your native language.

- How fast did you get grasp of the new language - when where you able to use it for communication?
- How old were you, and did you attend to local nursery/school?

Bonus: Do you still know/use that second language, especially if you have since moved back to your home country or somewhere else?
I moved to Spain when I was 12, my sister was 9 and we stayed there for 3 years. We moved to an area that was mainly Spanish speakers, however the school I attended was populated by English people despite it being a Spanish school.

I couldn't grasp the language at all, so I really struggled throughout my time there. I could understand the language but I struggled in constructing a sentence together.
My sister on the other hand became fluent in Spanish after a month. She went to a Spanish primary school and was friends with Spanish people so she picked it up very quickly. She was also getting taught Valencian as well.

We moved back home and I studied Spanish at school, I ended up with a good grade due to my advantage of living there. My sister progressed further in terms of qualifications and is now saving up to move back to Spain

Hope this helped.

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Sinirastas
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(Original post by shawn_o1)
Initially they taught me. But then they found a "Chinese school" in the UK, put me in it, and all went downhill...
It seems to me it is quite safe to say that it's not your fault and lack of effort from your side, the way your language skills developed. But it also seems language develoment is affected by many factors, like age, supportive environment, even personality.
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Sinirastas
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(Original post by TheWaffle)
Moved to France aged 7. Was put into a French Primary school where no one spoke any English.

(Original post by Katiekj25)
I moved to Spain when I was 12, my sister was 9 and we stayed there for 3 years.
Thank you for answers! It's interesting how different experiences you have, and honestly I hadn't even thought that siblings may have all together different skills, motivation and opportunities to learn second language, even if they are both living in same place and their parents are equally supportive.
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sneakysquirrel
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Moved from the US to Germany when I was four, and learned German pretty quickly through Kindergarten. We lived there for about 7 years before moving back to the States, and though my German has gotten a tad rusty I still speak it fairly well, at least well enough to survive in German-speaking Switzerland where we now live. I am considering attending the University of Zurich, though am a bit intimidated about writing academically in German and will probably end up in the UK.
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sneakysquirrel
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(Original post by Sinirastas)
Thank you for answers! It's interesting how different experiences you have, and honestly I hadn't even thought that siblings may have all together different skills, motivation and opportunities to learn second language, even if they are both living in same place and their parents are equally supportive.
Yeah, when we moved to Germany my sister, who was 2 at the time, probably picked up the language more quickly than I did and even had a tinge of a German accent when she spoke English. However, she seems to have lost it more than I have after moving back to the States, likely because she had less time in a German elementary school and therefore did not have a chance to develop her writing skills which help to ingrain a language.
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