Many people have asked my how or why I decided to begin to write this blog, and for someone who is studying humanities subjects it really is a little embarrassing.
I didn’t begin to write Bitten by the Travel Bug because I was litterly bitten by a bug whilst travelling, neither was it because I had some crazy round-the-world trip planned, though eventually this became true.
It was because I wanted to improve my English language skills, particularly my grammar.
Writing has always been a big part of my life. I was the book worm, the kid who excelled in English class and who wrote in a diary, but as I grew so did the world of technology – computers became something of a best friend to me and I would spend hours a day chatting with my friends online in a world where spelling and grammar were thrown out the window. Why practice spelling when I could be instead levelling up my NeoPet? (Please tell me some of you remember them!)
As I grew up I also changed schools a lot. My first school shut down when I was in year 3 due to lack of numbers and from my comfortable little bubble where I was excelling in our bi-weekly English comprehension classes I was thrown into the deep end at the most prestigious girls school in my city. Whilst my vocabulary was still one of the broadest in the year my grammar was… well non-existant is what it was.
I didn’t understand verbs, adjectives, or nouns – something the other girls had been learning, and this then affected my other studies. I was the top of my class in speaking and reading French but come to the grammar tests I would be somewhere closer to the bottom.
I discovered the Media when I was 14. I studied the subject at school and my passion quickly became apparent to my teacher and I was thrown in the deep in working at a local community channel on broadcasts each week. I loved it. Meeting the talent, pressing the buttons, getting the best shots, editing – it was natural and easy to me and I continued working for the company for years before working with a national TV company.
University Journalism threw radio into the mix of passions as I tried to diversify my skill set for future employment. But it became apparent that even with having radio and broadcast skills under my belt I still missed a fundamental part of a journalists tool kit – I had no print experience.
The thought of having to submit articles for consideration to my local or state newspaper made me queasy. I knew how bad my grammar was and so I put the thought on the back burner hopelessly seeking a better way to gain print experience. My beloved Internet held the answer.
I’d dabbled in websites when I was younger in the days where I thought I was going to become a computer programmer and having been reading other peoples blogs for a while I really did think that I could make a website which would help me improve my English grammar and make for a great online portfolio.
Setting up my first website, the .net equivalent of the site you are on today, I began to write content about my upcoming trip to work at an American summer camp… and I quickly got a hater comment correcting my poor grammar in the nastiest way possible. It shocked me that someone could be so mean but it only made me more determined to improve.
My grammar is far from perfect but the more I write the better I get and comparing pieces from 2009 really do make me cringe when I see that I still thought ‘a lot’ was spelt ‘alot’. By writing, asking friends to correct my work and reading grammar tips from The Oatmeal and Grammar Girl I continue to learn what I’m doing wrong and how to improve it.
There are plenty of other ways to improve your grammar and learn English better though and the infographic below shows just that. Who knew Spiderman, Friends and the Titanic were so influential at helping people learn English!
This post is sponsored by Kaplan International.
As always all thoughts and opinions are my own.