I am a Chinese-educated person. I learn Chinese since kindergarten until secondary school. Although my family language is not Chinese, my Chinese is considered good among peers. In university and working life, we use English as the main communication language.
My father foresees that English is important to me if I want to achieve something great. For the sake of his precious daughter, he sent me to a private and notable English centre to learn English when I was 15. My English was not that bad. I ace the entrance test and was in a class with working adults. My English is considered good for a Chinese-educated person. During my working life, I have received praises for good written English.
Enough with all the kudos. What other people do not know is, I learn both languages with a lot of time and effort. There is no easy way to learn a new language. We did not have fun apps or software to help us. All are learnt step-by-step, day-by-day. I watched English movies and took notes of unknown words that I can learn. When other people were enjoying Chinese movies, I looked at the translation to search for new English words. I had a lot of Chinese writing to do in school, learning each Chinese character stroke by stroke. I still remember my primary teacher asked the class to make a HanYu PinYin (汉语拼音) dictionary each from scratch…
If you ask me, is it difficult to learn English / Chinese? The answer: No, as long as you are willing to put in the effort. All the effort are worthwhile when you receive the praise, sometimes from a stranger. But the praise will not come in one or two days, not even one or two years. Praise aside, when you know the language and can appreciate its beauty, “have fun” with the language. It is something that cannot be bought by money. Besides, I enjoyed the movies I watched, and I still do.
Nowadays, there are many language learning centres and many tools to help us with language learning. It should be easier to learn a new language now compared to 10 – 20 years ago. So, make use of the technology, enjoy the learning process and wait for your effort to bear fruit 🙂