My struggle with English language and how I mastered it

My struggle with English language and how I mastered it.About the author – Sarvesh Agrawal is the founder & CEO of Internshala. This is the opening article for English with Internshala series – an initiative to help students improve their English proficiency and thus communications skills.

In my journey of 5 years at Internshala, I have learned how hugely important & life-saving communication skills are. In fact, the ability to write moderately persuasive content was the only relevant skill I had when I started Internshala in 2010.

And yet, today when I see a large number of students struggling with writing even one paragraph in their internship applications without spelling or grammatical errors in it, I wonder why we are not able to convey the importance of this skill to our students. Maybe, it is so obvious that we don’t realize its value until it hits us (like how everyone knows that exercising daily is good for health but few do it) or maybe we don’t even know that we need to improve.

I have also come across students who know their English is weak and want to improve but don’t know where to start or lack the confidence. This story is for them.

I studied in a Hindi medium school till 12th standard, and I even wrote my JEE exam in Hindi. And as luck would have it, I landed at IIT Madras; a place where English was the only language of instruction in the classroom and the primary language of interaction in the hostel. I felt like a fish out of water.

The first couple of months were hard; I was very conscious of my (lack of) vocabulary, poor pronunciation, and the fact that I had never conversed in English before. Fortunately, my grammar was good (thanks to my English teacher in school), but I just never had the opportunity to listen to or speak the language in my entire life till that point. Invariably, I would make mistakes while speaking and it would get pointed out. I would write my class notes in Hindi (Ex. द कॉन्क्रीट इज़ मेड अप ऑफ सीमेंट, फाइन एंड कोर्स अग्ग्रीगट्स) and come back to my room to find spelling and meaning of each word and re-write it in English. To be able to ask questions in the class, I would carry a Hindi to English dictionary so that I can find correct English words for the question that I had phrased in my mind in Hindi.

But somehow (courtesy friends and professors), I was not embarrassed by it & took it as an opportunity to learn something new. I made a pact with my first-year roommates (Hey Tyson & Munda!) that they would speak to me only in English and bear with the mistakes I make and help me improve. I told my professors about my Hindi background and they understood that I will stutter when I ask or answer a question in the class.

I started reading, a lot. I used to devour The Hindu newspaper every day and even if I understood very little of it, I would write one page in my own words about the headline of the day and read it out in front of a mirror. A friend introduced me to the fascinating (Don’t you agree?) world of Sidney Sheldon and I got hooked. This continued for 6 months, and I could see gradual but definite improvement in my vocabulary. I could identify patterns of the grammar that I had learned in the school in the novels I read now, and my confidence took flight.

Soon, I graduated to different authors (Jeffrey Archer, Michael Crichton, Ayn Rand, Paulo Coelho etc.) and started participating actively in all the discussions that used to happen on the wing cot and in various hostel/campus activities. The defining moment came in the 3rd year of my college when I wrote the GRE Test and scored 1530 out of 1600 – the highest in the campus that year. My wing mates threw me a party, raised a toast, and remembered the long way I had come.

Later, I started writing and experimenting with word/phrase usage and developed the moderately persuasive content writing skills that I talked about at the start of this post. My communication skills (and the confidence they gave me) helped me secure various leadership positions on the campus, an exciting job (I started my career with Capital One in the UK) when I graduated, and eventually in building Internshala.

So here you go, that’s my story of learning the Queen’s language. I can not overemphasize how hugely important a skill it has been for me and how not so difficult it is to master it if you are determined. ‘English with Internshala’, a series of articles that we would be writing, is our attempt to help students in Internshala community polish their communication skills and shine forever. Stay tuned and hope you make the most out of it!

PS – click on ‘Next’ button below to read the next article of English with Internshala series.

PPS – Do tell us in comments what do you think of the initiative and how we can make it more useful for you.


77 thoughts on “My struggle with English language and how I mastered it

  • August 13, 2016 at 11:48 PM

    Thanks :)

  • August 14, 2016 at 9:48 AM

    It’s a good initiative by Internshala. I appreciate Internshala for making such efforts.There are few things which in my opinion Internshala can do :
    1.Have some tie ups with NGOs which are working in the same field.
    2.Create a platform where students who are lacking good communication skills could communicate with students having excellent communication skills.
    3.Should organise workshops for enhancement of communication skills.
    I hope that Internshala will surely look into this matter and make a positive effort in this field.Thanks.

  • March 11, 2017 at 9:46 PM

    Thank you
    for initiate the spark in my confidence

  • June 22, 2017 at 2:28 PM

    I am also lacking in speaking skills. As I have paticipated in group discussions but i am not able to communicate like all other participants are doing. Give some tips to improve my speaking.

  • July 3, 2017 at 3:07 PM

    This initiative positively served to be very inspiring and I will surely start working upon areas where I find myself lacking

  • August 1, 2017 at 1:15 PM

    Hello sir,
    How can I improve my English in the professional way to speak proper way.

    • August 11, 2017 at 12:05 PM

      Hi Anoop,

      Thanks for writing in.
      To achieve communicative competency, you may practice grammar and sentence structures. Also, a comprehensive reading of books and newspaper can be of help.

      Internshala has developed a course for improving communication skills. Please find the link below.

      Team Internshala

  • September 28, 2017 at 6:39 PM

    Ianinterested to improve my communication skills through your blog. Please advise me. Thanks for your valuable information and guidance to English learners .
    Best regards
    Chockalingam. PIRAMANAYAGAM

  • October 30, 2017 at 2:02 PM


  • November 9, 2017 at 12:06 AM

    I have became really very confident after reading your article and I appreciate your initiative too.
    I am not as bad as you used to be but surely I lack confidence when I know that I have to speak english in front of the huge crowd or whenever I have to speak it out fluently.
    Please mentor me or how me a path to get me out of this, I will be very obliged.
    Thank you

    • November 13, 2017 at 10:43 AM

      Hi Sanyam,

      We are glad to know that we could be of help.
      If you don’t feel confident enough, I suggest you converse with your friends in English. Also, stand in front of a mirror and speak on any topic of your interest. This would help you gain confidence.

      All the best!

      Thanks~ Unnatti

  • November 18, 2017 at 7:13 PM

    Great Writeup

  • March 21, 2018 at 9:41 PM

    I am good in language speaking with others individually but when comes to a group of people like stage fear lam unable to speak a single word how I can get out of the problem.

    • March 22, 2018 at 10:25 AM

      Hi Goutham,

      If you don’t feel confident enough, I suggest you converse with your friends in English. Also, stand in front of a mirror and speak on any topic of your interest. This would help you gain confidence.

      All the best!

      Thanks~ Unnatti

  • May 30, 2018 at 10:36 AM

    Hello sir,
    I got this artical soo inspirational. It’s really commendable for those who are lacking in language and have lack of confidence in public speaking. This artical is a live example for the phrase “Hard work really pays”
    This is a opportunity for youths to build a command over language specially for their bright future at right time.
    I really appreciate you Sir for this remarkable step taken with the help of internship.

  • June 2, 2018 at 10:59 PM

    I really like your life story.

  • August 14, 2018 at 6:47 PM

    Once again u proved that nothing is impossible…..!!!!!!!!

  • August 18, 2018 at 8:22 PM

    Really, such a great motive contents. the struggle you have done until the success comes to your feet.
    Hats of man!!
    I think most of the students lack the vocab, so in order to improve that they should be forced to learn this thing in the early stage ASAP.
    Mostly the colleges student feel very bad when they realize that there is no existence without English at that stage. So it should be improved earlier.

  • October 19, 2018 at 1:09 PM

    Your post was really helpful and most of my doubts were cleared.

  • January 9, 2019 at 12:43 PM

    Thanks for sharing information ,It is very important knowledge for english.

  • January 14, 2019 at 3:44 PM


  • February 21, 2019 at 3:07 PM

    Nice post thanks for sharing

  • February 25, 2019 at 3:33 PM

    Thanks for your good information

  • February 25, 2019 at 4:41 PM

    Your post was really helpful.

    Thank you very much for publish a valuable information.

  • March 1, 2019 at 2:16 PM

    Great post thanks for sharing helpful knowledge , keep sharing

  • March 5, 2019 at 5:00 PM

    Good tips you have here. I strongly agree in what you’ve said about practicing it with a person who knows well the language you’re studying .

  • March 7, 2019 at 9:05 PM

    Very Inspirational Post. thank you sharing you life story its really amazing that how you work hard to learn.
    almost every person in life struggling to learn and earn this post will be really helpful for everyone

  • March 9, 2019 at 2:00 PM

    Awesome post! Thanks for updating this article.

  • March 12, 2019 at 1:08 PM

    Excellent and i must say honest job!

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  • March 19, 2019 at 12:27 PM

    I suggest you converse with your friends in English. Also, stand in front of a mirror and speak on any topic of your interest.

  • March 28, 2019 at 11:51 AM

    Hello there,

    Being a German, I always had problems with English proficiency. It took me almost 3 and a half years to learn English. The importance of English proficiency can be understood by the fact that world leaders speak English. It is second most popular language in the world.
    Thanks for the blog. it will help the beginners.

  • March 29, 2019 at 3:37 PM

    This initiative proved positive very inspirational and I will definitely start working in areas where I feel weaK points…

  • April 5, 2019 at 10:55 PM

    Thanks for sharing the article. Being a student from the State Board, I have always struggled with Spoken English and your article relates to my story. Thanks for taking an initiative for sharing your story.

  • April 9, 2019 at 10:17 PM

    Really this is so motivational and inspiration information. I hope everyone taking benefits of this. I am so glad. Thanks for share with us.

  • April 15, 2019 at 4:52 PM

    love to hear your thoughts on how we can improve experience in particular field.

  • September 27, 2019 at 11:43 AM

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  • November 4, 2019 at 10:17 AM

    your story inspire us. Thank you so much to share it.

  • December 5, 2019 at 12:02 PM

    Nice topic,congratulations,thanks for sharing,please share other posts too.

  • December 9, 2019 at 10:24 AM

    Hey Sarvesh ,
    This is really great and helpful post. This content is a live model for the expression “Difficult work truly pays”
    This is an open door for young people to construct an order over language extraordinarily for their brilliant future at correct time.thanks for such a content keep writing i will be flowing you.

  • December 12, 2019 at 9:55 PM

    Hey i am inspired from your article. I am very poor an English. Now i try to Spoken English. Thanks for this blogs.

  • December 18, 2019 at 5:20 PM

    This initiative positively served to be very inspiring. and this post is really very helpful post.

  • December 27, 2019 at 3:40 PM

    Good job great article share by you. keep sharing these artices.
    these articles help to understand the concept much beter.

  • January 13, 2020 at 5:38 PM

    Wow this is really great, big and informative article thanks for sharing it
    CA in Vaishali


  • January 14, 2020 at 2:10 PM

    Wow Nice blog thanks for sharing ince blog.

  • January 16, 2020 at 6:05 PM

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience. Nice Article!

  • January 18, 2020 at 11:19 AM

    Your post was really helpful and most of my doubts were cleared.

  • January 20, 2020 at 11:36 AM

    You gave us lots of information, along with examples that are very helpful for me. Thank you so much for sharing.

  • January 21, 2020 at 4:10 PM

    Thank you, Sarvesh Agrawal, it’s a motivation blog for those who are having problems in the English language. Specially Daily exercise statement.

  • January 21, 2020 at 4:13 PM

    Thank you, it’s an effective blog for those who are having problems in the English language. We( also provide an English speaking course/CBSE correspondence /open school.

  • January 21, 2020 at 4:17 PM

    Good, it’s an effective blog on how to overcome problems in the English language.

  • January 21, 2020 at 4:21 PM

    Nice blog, For those who have problems in the English language. Kftinstitute also provides a film acting theater institute to overcome the fear of the camera.

  • January 21, 2020 at 5:23 PM

    Perfect blog, For those who have problems in the English language. Practice making a man perfect.

  • January 27, 2020 at 5:33 PM

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  • February 3, 2020 at 12:37 PM

    I will take week communication skills as a challenge, thank you for sharing a supportive view regarding learning Queen’s language.

  • March 25, 2020 at 2:44 PM

    In today’s life english is very important language. You wrote such an amazing article. It proves helpful for many peoples including me.

  • April 3, 2020 at 1:57 PM

    Thanks for sharing your experience

  • April 7, 2020 at 2:19 PM

    There are number of short courses of spoken English available or even to write. they are quite reliable

  • April 7, 2020 at 5:03 PM

    What a super post and this post motivate us nothing is impossible

  • April 20, 2021 at 4:14 PM

    Hello, Thanks for this valuable information. After reading your full post I become your big fan. Really it’s very helpful for me. I hope you write more of this kind of informative post. Thanks Again, Dear.


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