There is always time to begin learning English.
Okay, okay, we get it.
The thought of learning English can seem overwhelming.
Where do you begin? How do you find time in your crazy schedule?
Well, do not panic.
It is actually very possible to incorporate English learning into your everyday life.
There are English learning opportunities at the grocery store, on your commute to work and more. We will show you how—with five incredible beginner English learning tools you can use.
Soon you will realize that you can practice English anywhere—and you will not be a beginner for long!
What You Will Gain as an English Learner
Sure, it may seem frightening to take the first steps towards learning English. But you should be proud that you are starting this language-learning journey. There are so many benefits to learning English.
- Professional benefits: English is a common language in international business, so for many careers, it is beneficial to know English. English skills can also help you stand out in a job interview and make a great addition to your resume.
- Travel benefits: If you are interested in traveling or moving to an English-speaking country, being fluent in English will be a major bonus! Unsurprisingly, you will have a much easier time navigating English-speaking countries if you can understand English. But you will also have an easier time making new friends and understanding the culture of the area.
- Boosted confidence: Learning English can give you confidence in your everyday life. You will know that you faced and overcame a challenge, and that you are capable of working hard and learning something new.
This will help build your confidence as you tackle other challenges in your life.
At the end of the day, learning English means you learned a new skill. Whether you use English professionally or personally, you should be happy to know that you set and achieved your fluency goal.
How to Prepare for Success as an English Learner
- Be patient. Repeat this phrase to yourself whenever you get overwhelmed. Learning English takes time. Fluency will not happen overnight.
Remember, even fluent English speakers struggle with certain words and phrases sometimes. So be patient in your process. Studying and practicing English will pay off with time.
- Be confident. As a beginner language learner, it is easy to focus on your mistakes more than your progress. You might underestimate how much you are actually learning. So be confident and remember that learning English is possible.
Not convinced? Test your skills regularly with English proficiency tests for solid evidence that you are moving towards English fluency.
- Be flexible. As we will show you below, you can learn English anywhere.
Sometimes it seems that you can only learn in a classroom. But, it is not always possible to join an English language class. So remember, you can learn English anywhere. Learning is not limited to the classroom. In this post, we will cover five places outside the classroom where you can learn English.
How to Learn English as a Beginner: 5 Tools That Fit Easily into Everyday Life
So you are ready to learn English, but where should you start?
You do not have to go back to school to learn English. In fact, you can learn English anywhere. Here are five places where you can start.
1. Your Bed
What you need: Hello English
Yes, you can learn English from the comfort of your own home. You can even stay in bed in your pajamas if you want to!
Language learning apps like Hello English make it very easy to practice English at home. Hello English offers lessons, games and conversation practice tools to help you work towards English fluency.
You can also use this app to pose questions to English teachers!
It is a particularly useful option for beginners because it has specific learning programs depending on what your native language is. You can learn English with instructions in French, Spanish, Urdu, Arabic and more.
Extra English practice from bed:
There are so many resources you can use to learn English from bed. For example, buy a journal so you can practice writing in English. Challenge yourself to daily writing prompts as soon as your alarm rings. Or you can write lists of English words that you learned each day before you fall asleep.
Spend a lot of time scrolling through your phone while lying in bed? Why not watch videos on English language-learning YouTube channels instead?
2. Your Couch
What you need: FluentU
Who does not love relaxing on the couch with a great movie or TV show?
However, with English videos, it can be difficult to understand the fast speech or slang. You might not learn as much as you want to.
So pop some popcorn and load up one of the authentic English videos on FluentU, which have built-in tools to make sure you never miss a word.
There are movie trailers, TV clips, music videos, news reports, inspiring speeches… all types of videos that native speakers actually watch! As you watch, you can click any word in the interactive subtitles for an instant definition and grammar info. FluentU will also show you other videos that have the word so you understand how to use it in any context.
When you finish a video, there are flashcards and fun quizzes to help you remember everything you just learned.
Since the videos are organized by genre and level, it is easy to find the ones that work for you. FluentU will even remember what you have learned and suggest new videos based on that info.
Sick of laying on your couch? You can take FluentU anywhere with the iOS and Android mobile apps.
Extra English practice at movie theaters:
You could watch some of your favorite films in English or add English subtitles to a movie in your native language. Or, practice by watching English movie trailers. You can find a wide variety of English movie trailers at IMDb.
3. Grocery Store
What to bring: Phone with a barcode scanning app
You can actually cross grocery shopping off your to-do list and learn English at the same time.
Simply download an English-language barcode scanning app such as ShopSavvy (linked above) before going to the store. A “barcode” is a series of lines and numbers that identify the product.
Once at the store, use the app to scan the barcode on different products. The app will display information about the product in English.
It is a unique way to practice English reading. You will learn important vocabulary for your daily life as you scan the groceries you need.
Extra English practice at grocery stores:
If you have access to an English grocery store, spend some time strolling the aisles. Practice reading the labels and signs throughout the store. If the employees speak English, you can try to ask them a few questions about the store or products in English. This way you can practice reading, speaking and listening to English.
Another option is to order groceries online. You can try to translate the website into English or use an English grocery website to practice reading English.
4. Coffee Shops
What to bring: TableTopics
Coffee shops are a quiet and relaxing place to practice English.
As you sip on your latte, you can use a conversation-starter game to enhance your English fluency skills. TableTopics is a perfect game for English language learners because it provides over 100 basic conversation topics to choose from.
Simply pull out a card, read the question and try to respond in English. If you have a partner to practice with, you can try to carry on a conversation in English. If not, use the conversation-prompts as journal topics to practice your written English skills.
Extra English practice at coffee shops:
Bring an English book to read as you enjoy some coffee. Or, bring your phone or computer and watch English-language videos at the coffee shop.
Sure, you can also use these resources at home! But research has indicated that studying in a busy café can actually boost your productivity. So bringing these beginner English learning tools into a coffee shop may help you learn faster.
5. Your Commute
What you need: News in Slow English
How much time do you spend sitting in public transit or in your car every day as you go to and from work?
You can utilize News in Slow English to get more out of your commute. In this podcast, you will hear news stories in slow, clear English that’s designed for language learners to understand. Then you will hear the hosts discuss the news story for more context.
You can download the episodes as MP3s, and you can also download the transcript to read at the same time—perfect if you are commuting on a bus or train. If you are biking, walking or driving, just grab your headphones and put on one of the episodes.
The episodes also come with grammar lessons, pronunciation help and quizzes.
This resource allows you to stay current with the news while also improving your English fluency skills.
Extra English practice for your commute:
There are so many English-language podcasts available to help you learn the language. Podcasts are great because you can easily listen to them on-the-go. Try to pick the ones that are most interesting to you so they hold your attention for your entire commute.
So, are you ready to improve your fluency? Just remember, you do not need a classroom to learn English. You really can learn English as a beginner anywhere!
Stephanie Brown is a New York City-based freelance writer. You can find her at The Adventuring Millennial.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn English with real-world videos.