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I'm Dawid Wikło and I'm from Poland.
My native language is Polish.
In Poland, we don't have other official languages so that's the only language that I've known from my childhood.
Currently, I live in Cracow – the second largest city in Poland but I lived in my family village almost my whole life.
I relocated to Cracow to find a well-paid job and an interesting project. This is easier to do in a city, where there are a lot of companies in a similar sector.
I want to tell you something about myself.
I'm 25 years old and currently I'm working as a java software developer.
In general most of my life was connected with the world of IT, including technical school and university.
Honestly I like my work but it's hard to spend almost a whole day in a sitting position – now I'm looking for a desk with electric regulation in order to work in a sitting position as well as in a standing position.
I love to go for a walk when I have some free time.
I'm a big fan of football – I watch every single match of FC Barcelona.
Sometimes I like to read books about self-improvement, and the world of IT.
Also, I like to go shopping. Maybe it's unusual amongst men but I really enjoy it. Good clothes, modern fashion and whole stuff related to good style is something which makes me very happy.
My last interest is cars.
I have a huge interest in it, but I prefer models that are quite cheap and easy to fix.
When something breaks with my car, firstly I look at this problem and when I can't fix it, I call the mechanic in order to make an appointment to fix it.
My language learning journey is quite long.
It started when I was nine years old.
In the fourth class of primary school I started learning English and German.
I had two hours of lessons of both every week - so in total that’s four hours of learning foreign languages per week. This journey continued through all of primary school and technical school.
It was easy to learn some basic grammar rules, some vocabulary but I realised that after ten years of learning I should be quite fluent in English.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.
All lessons that I had in school were in Polish instead of English. As a result, I wasn't able to watch and understand a movie properly.
Speaking with native English speakers was very problematic for me as well, sometimes impossible.
Also the bad thing about learning foreign languages in Poland is that when we don't say something correctly with grammar rules then we shouldn't say it.
Students should start speaking as fast as possible, even if speaking is incorrect and has a lot of mistakes. This is the only way to produce confidence in our skills in a foreign language.
Unfortunately, the Polish model of learning foreign languages is poor.
The hardest thing about learning English that I've faced is listening.
It's very hard to understand native users of English who speak very fast.
I know that the words that they use are quite simple, but often it sounds like an entire sentence is transformed into a single word.
All these shortcuts - it's really hard. Especially for someone who lives in Poland.
Our language has a very tough accent.
We can't speak in Polish as fast as English natives speak in their own language.
Polish is so hard and speaking fast in Polish is probably impossible.
That's the reason why English listening is so problematic for me.
When I look at the transcript then I understand almost everything, so yeah – understanding fast speaking English speakers is the hardest thing as it comes to learning English.
Probably harder than speaking.
At least for me.
I'm improving my English mostly because of my job.
As a software engineer fluent English is a mandatory skill that multiplies your salary twice or more. I'm learning English in order to be more confident in the market.
In addition I will be able to travel around the world and speak with so many people. English in the years to come will be more and more common.
At the beginning of March I started running.
It's just morning running.
I realised that it'd be great to find something to listen to, especially in English.
Then I found the Leonardo English podcast “English Learning For Curious Minds” on Spotify.
Every day I run for 40 minutes and that's a great opportunity for me to improve my English while running. For me it's a win-win situation.
I'm taking care of my health and I'm improving my English as well.
That's my daily routine and I'm doing it on working days (Monday-Friday).
I'm listening to one podcast per week.
I know that repetition is key for fluency as it comes to learning English.
Besides listening I use the transcripts for shadowing. I do it every day after work.
In shadowing we repeat the speaker, just to be the shadow of him/her. With Leonardo English, I'm a shadow of Alastair.
That's the perfect way for improving our stamina and accent. I highly recommend the shadowing technique for everyone! It's one of the best tools on our journey to fluency in English.
My favourite episode is about Diego Maradona. It is episode number 146. I enjoyed it a lot.
I'm a huge fan of football and probably because of it this episode was something more for me.
Of course I knew the history of Maradona before listening to the episode but after listening to the episode I've learnt something new about Diego.
I highly recommend this episode to everyone! Besides it, almost every episode that I've listened to was great.
These ones about Scotland, Chocolate, The Art of War were stunning as well.
Alastair from Leonardo English says: "It's great to hear this inspiring story from Dawid. He is clearly determined, has exactly the right attitude, and is making excellent progress. Listening while you're out running and then practising shadowing later on in the day is probably the best way to make parallel progress with your English and your health, so I'm thrilled to hear how well it is working for him. Keep up the great work, Dawid."