When I say native-like fluency, I refer to speaking English to a level where you feel like speaking your language. At that level, you can speak without translating or searching for words and expressions in English. You can use idioms or native expressions freely without effort, and you can quickly respond to various situations/questions in English. From my personal experience, it's tough (or even not feasible) to achieve this without going to English-speaking countries. I have invested over a hundred hours on Italki and lots of time listening to podcasts, conversations between native English speakers on Youtube, and results were seen. I have obtained a C1 level in English, but I don't think level matters at all. Most native speakers don't achieve C1 in their native language, but it doesn't bother their fluency. Now I find it particularly difficult to take my English to the next level or achieve the fluency I like. I wish I could spend some years in an English-speaking country to give my English a lift. I think what it would do to me is it would give me more exposure to English than to Chinese which is my native language.
Do you think it is possible to speak (and think) like a native speaker without going to English-speaking countries?
Interesting link. It would have been even more interesting if he had done the immersion with a weak language.
Aiden, I'll give a straightforward answer to your question.
Honestly, NO, I don't think it's possible to achieve the fluency you're looking for without spending a consistent amount of time in an English-speaking country.
This a sort of necessary condition. By no means sufficient! Living abroad won't make your English improve by virtue of geography: you'll have to interact with English speakers on a daily basis, in different types of situations, each requiring its own register of speech. Such a direct and diverse experience will give you that overall fluency in the language which is as close as possible to a native competence.
From your home-country, you'll hit a high intermediate level (at the very best), but you won't go any further. As you've already a solid C1, you'll see by yourself that, quite soon, lessons, readings, music, series, etc. will be less and less effective. At a certain moment, you'll realize that they won't have any effect anymore. This is the sign that you'll have reached a limit. If you don't take any new step, your English will stagnate: at a high level, for sure, but still stagnate!
So, if you can travel, do not hesitate and take the chance! Live in an English-speaking community, interact with people, develop relationships ... Your English will clearly benefit from it in a way that will be unattainable otherwise.