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Struggling with speaking English in confidence

Community Member

I came here around Year 8. I suffered from moderate social anxiety in primary school in my home country. Things got better when I entered year 7 while I was still in my home country. I made friends I was happy I got pushed to speak in front of the class sometimes, even though I still felt scared but a little bit better than in primary school.

Then boom, I was out in a foreign country in Year 8 where one of my parents was with me. At first, I was still able to keep myself motivated from the experiences I gained from Year 7. Then I simply just couldn't handle any stress that anyone would judge or criticise my speaking (they acted impatient), and it happened before. It brought my mood down for days and lost my confidence, giving me huge anxiety. I have this severe social anxiety when I need to open up a conversation in English until now (I just graduated from Uni). I kept trying to avoid stepping out of my comfort zone by only making friends with my people. I jigged high school days a lot, to make myself feel comfortable.

And sometimes, I'm not able to catch what other people are saying, even if I ask them to repeat, I still don't get it, and some people would lose their patience. This has happened so many times while I was a barista. I could only handle the language within that cafe setting, I cant do much casual talk as my mind goes blank and felt anxious.  I am ok with writing my thoughts down as it gives me time to think and phrase it. But my mind just goes blank when I need to open my mouth. I think of going to some English speaking club, but then I am afraid of speaking with a group of strangers and scared that I can't engage and people think I am boring.

And the two years of remote study make everything worst. Yes, I stayed perfectly in my comfort zone, I had pseudo security for the last few years. limited interaction with school or new people. Now that I need to find a job (also have no clear or even vague direction), I have to face all the issues in one go.

I don't know how I can tell myself to do all these tasks. and idk what should I do first.

2 Replies 2

Community Member

Hi C-S,


Thank you for sharing your experiences. For what it's worth you sound very eloquent and type better English than a lot of native speakers. Job hunting can be difficult, especially if you have a pre existing anxiety around your speech and ability to understand English. You mentioned that you feel more confident if you are given feedback and maybe pushed out of your comfort zone a little. Would you consider taking on a public speaking group where you are required to deliver speeches in front of other group members in a supportive environment? One example I know that my friend goes to is Toastmasters. You can tackle some of your confidence issues while gaining valuable oral communication skills at the same time. 


On top of this I would recommend finding strategies to manage your anxiety. I like to use breathing techniques if I'm anxious or in a state of panic. But you can find some more here: https://www.beyondblue.org.au/mental-health/anxiety/treatments-for-anxiety/anxiety-management-strate... 


Hope this helps a bit.



Community Member

A big and wonderful welcome


I totally understand how difficult it is to come to a new country it is scary I get it Im origanally from south africa and I had a similar problem learning english in school. I do admit it is not the easiest language to learn. I was in grade 4 and was bullied for being different. 


Truly where would australia be without diversity a ot of the great cusines come from overseas and you have to be proud and confident of your heritage. I am a proud indian immagrant and I realised how hard my family worked to give me the opportunity in australia.


You must stand proud and be confident!!!


I know there are going to be times you are going to be worried and scared but you mustn't give up and be scared because there are many wonderful things that diversity brings to australia like festivals, food and langauge which you must be proud of where you come from and teach your friends your langauge.


You are proud and powerful with in your heart.


Never have fear for being diffent because you are special and unique and always be proud of your heritage and your culture.