I was told that our brain functions by memorizing the last 10,000 words we heard and read. That’s why when you’re living in a foreign-language speaking country, you’ll be more effectively familiar to the language than when you’re only having an intensive course in your home country.
Before I left for Australia, my English was considered on average-to-high level. I can speak, read and write fluently to fellow Asians, whose native language is not English, but when I was watching a Hollywood movie, I would need subtitles. At that time, I didn’t have a room for improvement because I was still surrounded by Indonesian-speaking people.
The time came when I had to leave to Australia, where as expected people speak English all the time (despite the fact that I still lived with fellow Indonesians). The first 2 months were the hardest time ever, when I had to ask people to repeat their every word every time and I totally had no courage to do any phone calls. I understood their words, but all the accent things (I have to admit that Aussie accent is the WORST yet it always makes me miss Aussie) happened. Long story short, I adapted pretty well and was finally able to be more English-fluent.
After I finished my study, I decided to go back to Indonesia. I take the risk of losing my English skill if I didn’t use it in a long time. Then, what do I do to keep English in my head? Use the 10,000 words theory and keep writing in this blog in English. That way, I can keep my head thinking in English, even though my speaking skill is decreasing.