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Sujata

Congratulations on your career choice! The most important advice is to make sure you follow your passion with purpose to the best you can and the rest will fall into place. That being said, I'd like to offer some practical and actionable advice to help you take the steps you need to be most successful in your field. If you feel that your mastery of the English language is a weak, you can definitely improve those skills with hard work and dedication. I see this as a two-phase approach.

Phase I-Master conversational and basic English (do all the following in parallel over the course of a year):

READING:
(1) Firstly, it's important that you are comfortable with general conversation and literacy. The best ways to be more comfortable are to read, read, read. The caveat is to not rely solely on the internet. Read actual literature books (start with the great fiction books and you can also read some nonfiction but it depends on the editing performed as sometimes those contain mistakes). Start with simple literature and then work your way up to more complex literature. I'd suggest you start with American authors primarily because some of the great literature from foreign authors were written first in a different language and then translated. You can try to find a book list for English literature for Americans in grade school and work your way up that way. (To Kill a Mockingbird, Invisible Man, Toni Morrison, Gatsby etc...) I think starting out with 1 book per month is doable. Go as slow as you need to, but just make sure your making progress.

Alongside books, I'd also suggest reading articles only from reputable publications. Publications such as the New York Times (although I've noticed the recent editing on their articles sometimes still contains mistakes), New Yorker (excellent journalism, heavily vetted and edited, sometimes dense with long articles but it's overall probably the best), Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, Vox. Mix it up and this can offer you a variety of things to read from different authors and you can start to pick up patterns and nuance over the course of a year. Commit to 1 article per day (many offer free articles). Local news papers are okay too like the Boston Globe, Detroit Free Press etc...Please do NOT rely on social media articles or blogs. Those aren't edited really in any way and many posts contain misinformation and misspellings.

(2) STUDY
The other part of reading I suggest is to read English grammar books. The basic ones to start with are "The Transitive Vampire" and Strunk and White's "Element of Style." There are others, but those are good places to start. This way you complement articles and books with actual grammar theory and understand why certain word choice is used and it lays a good foundation. Again, I suggest reading about 2-4 at least over the course of the year to pick up patterns and fill in gaps. You can find these books and English lit books for free at your local library.

(3) COMMUNICATION
The other way to attain English language mastery is to speak as much as possible. There are many ways to do this. Talk to friends and family in English to get more comfortable with colloquialisms and conversational English. There are even websites (the name is escaping me) that offer English-speaking partners on the phone. I suggest phone (especially now with COVID, but also to hone your auditory mastery of English). The other thing you can do is when you're reading your literature books or news articles by yourself, you can read them out-loud. It will help you with pronunciations and being more comfortable in conversations. English is a funny language and can be difficult for non-native speakers because there are exceptions to grammar rules that occur without reason. That can be hard to articulate on your own in a conversation but reading books and articles out-loud gives you the vocabulary and offers a sense of comfort.

(4) WRITING
The last part of phase I will be mastery of the written word. The best place for this to start is to just write in a journal every day. It can be a private journal for you but helps your articulate thoughts in print. Try this daily for at least a year and then you can even start to write your own articles or stories!

(5) Other options: the other thing you can do is enroll in English as a Second Language or English basics course at your local university. They likely have viable online options. Rosetta Stone online software is excellent to learn languages as they also hone speaking, reading, and writing. These options will cost money though vs 1, 2, and 3 can all be done for free.

PHASE II- mastery of medical language
I'll keep this brief, but because OT is part of the medical field the career demands will require you to communicate medical terminology. You will probably acquire those skills through your program, but once your feel that you have mastered Phase I, I suggest you start hitting up OT medical textbooks and research articles found via Pubmed. They all will seem dense at first, but over time after reading hundreds of articles etc...you will be more comfortable.

I hope this helps, good luck with your future endeavors. With hard work and dedication, you can definitely succeed and overcome any obstacles. Please do not let something like this hold you back. The personal skills you will cultivate by working through these obstacles will help you be successful in your field. GOOD LUCK!

Answered 5 months ago

Sujata