Most people ask me “how can your English be so good? You don’t have a strong accent, did you move overseas when you were very little?”
The answer is simply: exposure from an early age. I used to watch a tv show y dad used to wake up to watch on Sunday mornings that would teach English. When I was 9, my parents enroled me on an English course that had 2 sessions a week with 1.5hr each. When satellie tv arrived in Brazil, my parents were pioneers in seeing thst it would be good to watch movies from all over the world. So, I watched. French movies with Portuguese subtitles, then the same movie with English subtitles, then shows in English with English subtitles and so on. When we could import books from overseas, we did. When Brazil was doing well economically and we could travel overseas, I bought – very encouraged by my parents – books.
I have studied English, French, Italian, German and Spanish – no it is not the same as Portuguese – and I have to say that English was the only language that I can actually communicate in. Why? Because of consistency of use. English is not easier to learn than French, Italian or Spanish, although I have to say, i struggled with German, the secret is exposure to the language. Listening, reading and writing must be combined in the learning process.
I can’t stress how being bilingual has open doors and opportunities that otherwise would have stayed in the world of dreams.
So for all parents out there trying to raise bilingual children, besides tv and music, get books. In both languages or at least one book in the second language. If you don’t know if your children will ever want to live in Brazil, they will learn enough at a young age to develop the taste for different cultures and languages.
Raising a bilingual child from the very start is planting the seeds to live a life with more opportunities and more freedom. If you ask me, I think that is priceless.