Expressing oneself in a foreign language…more challenging than what I thought.

I studied the English language since “forever”, and I believe this applies for most of my colleagues in the MERETI summer training that I recently attended. However, despite such extensive experience with English,  I just can’t understand why most of us harbor insecurities regarding using the English language freely.

I think one reason stems from the fear of not being able to express yourself the way you wish. You have so many thoughts in your head, but you can’t organize them fast enough into coherent speech, as we struggle with finding the relevant vocabulary. Other reasons include a lack of confidence and a fear of being judged on your accent. In Egyptian culture, an incorrect accent can subject you to sarcasm.

Regardless of the reason, a fear of expressing oneself is a weird feeling that makes me quite uncomfortable. I studied advanced English, took communication courses, read a lot of articles, and practiced writing occasionally. But there is always this nervousness that acts as a barrier to effective communication.

During the MERETI workshop, I became inspired by one of our instructors, Professor Rehab Abdel Hai. The way she spoke was very relaxing, and you never felt she struggled with any of her words. Her ideas flowed smoothly and easily. I did notice one important aspect of her speaking style during her presentation: She could breathe!!!!

Maybe this is the key?  We should all relax, breathe, and slow down. No one will criticize us if we pause for a while to take a breath, to organize your thoughts, or even if we run out of thoughts.

We have to just take it easy and enjoy the ride!!!


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