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Learning a new language is a tremendously difficult task It certainly did notcomeeasyTo learn a language fully it requiresyouto experience it speak it and use it on a daily basisGrowing up it was never like that for meIn Ethiopia English is not the official language It is however the most widely spoken foreign language among the educated From the time I was in middle school I went to an elite private school therefore I had the advantage of studying English better than most of my family or friendsButit wasterriblydifficulttomasteralanguagewhen the only time I couldspeakit was when I was at school between the hours of eight and fourWhen I got home I only spoke Amharic My dad spoke a little bit of English but not enough for us tohavefullconversations My mom spoke no English at all In elementary school Iwas taughtmy ABCs by English teachers if they ever came to the US and tried to teach English they would be laughed at by American studentsTheircompetenceandunderstandingof thelanguagewasverylimitedthat a teenager that had just graduated from an American High School could have taughtbettergrammarAfter elementary school my parents moved me to a SOT a private American school I went to SOT from Fifth grade to Seventh grade The school had a strategy tomotivateus to speak English Throughout the day if we spoke and wroteourdaily five sentencesjournalin English wewere givenfive star stickersWhenever wewere heardspeaking Amharicourstarstickers would be taken awayThe whole point of the star stickers was thatat the end of each weekthe teachers wouldcollectthemThe student with the moststarstickers out of about thirty students in oneclasswould receive some form of prize The prizes varied from candies school utensils passes for homework extra-credit on a tests and quizzes to tickets to watch movies or games This was my mainincentiveto speak and write English primarily throughout the day especially when the teachers or teacher assistants were aroundI always tried toavoidthem so I couldspeakAmharicfreelywith my friends and actually be abletofullyandthoroughlyunderstandwhat they were sayingBasically studying
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