We all had to learn French in school in Switzerland, starting in 5th grade, it was mandatory. I didn’t (and still don’t) like the sound of French and I couldn’t wait for 7th grade, where we got to choose an optional third language, English or Italian.
I picked English, of course. And English came to me so easy, it almost felt as if I had spoken it before at one time. I believe in past lives, so yes, I think it is very possible that I probably did at one point. I started studying on my own and made it through the whole English Lessons book by the time we barely made it through the third chapter in class. I begged the teacher to let me have the second English book and made it through that one by the end of the first year. By that time I had pretty much surpassed my teacher’s knowledge level for the language.
After high school I went to a slightly non-traditional college. We didn’t get grades, just pass and fail and some of the classes were taught different as well. English for example was tailored to each student’s level and then small groups were formed. I didn’t fit in any group and got a lot of one on one with the teacher, a Canadian. It was awesome! She encouraged me to start reading regular books in English, which I did (and never looked back, I barely ever read German books anymore). She also encouraged me to watch English Television. That proved to be more difficult, our local cable company only offered MTV and some boring political station from England (don’t even remember what it was).
During my apprenticeship I started going to a private English Conversation group and we would have movie nights and lively discussions lead by a native English speaker. Those weekly get-togethers really got me to the point of being completely comfortable and fluent.
Needless to say that when I first arrived in Los Angeles, people thought that I had been there much longer already. I passed my English placement tests with flying colors and didn’t have to bother with boring ESL classes (English as a Second Language). I went straight to regular college English.
Now, 17 years later, I still have a slight accent. It will never go away and I stopped trying. I noticed the other day that my life really has become English in all I do. I even talk to myself in English now!