There are so many choices online designed to help you understand how to learn English better. You can improve your reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills when you know how to learn English on your own. English learning is everywhere around you, especially with the internet at your fingertips.

How to Learn English Online

Reading Skills

Surf English websites. One of the best methods to learn English reading online is to expose yourself to websites written in English. Have fun looking at different websites you already enjoy, but keep the reading in English.

Read the news. Reading the news in English will help you practice your reading skills and stay informed of what’s going on in the world. Read any news website you prefer, but there are also ESL news websites you can use.

Read movie reviews. If you’re a fan of films, try reading movie reviews in English. Start with reading reviews of movies you have already seen to help you learn new vocabulary and to test your comprehension. Then, try reading reviews before watching a movie to get an idea of the plot and characters.

Writing Skills

Join a chat group. Find a chat group dedicated to a topic you enjoy. Whether it’s Game of Thrones, Mad Men, or The Olympics; you can find chat groups for nearly any topic of interest. Join in and contribute your ideas.

Write reviews. Add your own opinion to a reviews page. The next time you order a product online, write a review on the product’s website. Did you see a memorable movie lately? Write a review! Don’t be afraid to share your opinions online.



Speaking Skills

Talk to friends online. Skype with someone you know who speaks English. They don’t have to be a native speaker. In fact, you might feel more comfortable talking to another ESL speaker like yourself. Schedule an English conversation time every day or every week to get extra practice.

Listening Skills

Listen to podcasts. Podcasts are a great way to listen to native English speakers using the language in a natural and conversational way. Many podcasts speak at a comfortable pace, so it is easy to listen and train your ear. Find an interesting podcast and make an effort to listen to it every day.

Watch videos. Video websites are popular because they are entertaining and often helpful. Start by watching videos in your own language with English subtitles. Then, change to English audio with English subtitles. Finally, turn off the subtitles and just listen to the English.

Listen to books on tape. If you love books, consider listening to a book on tape. You can listen to the story and periodically look at the book to check your comprehension.

Watch music videos. Watch videos of English songs. It’s enjoyable and can help you improve your English language learning. EnglishTag has a collection of music videos that offer subtitles, so you can read the lyrics as you listen.

Not only is studying abroad an excellent way for ESL students to learn English, but it’s also a great life experience. You get to travel, perhaps for the first time or the first time alone; you can meet new people, especially people from other countries; and you can experience a whole new culture.

But there are right ways and wrong ways to study abroad. For example, a right way is making an effort to engage in conversation with native speakers as frequently as possible. A wrong way, on the other hand, is only hanging out with people from your own country.

If you are lucky enough to have the opportunity to study English abroad, make sure you take full advantage of it! Here are some strategies for ESL students to implement when they’re studying abroad.

Do’s and Don’ts for ESL Students Abroad

Do

Talk to Native Speakers

You’re in the U.S., or Canada, or Australia – so talk to Americans, Canadians, and Australians! We know it’s intimidating; you’re afraid of making a mistake, or you don’t know how to say something correctly.

However, you won’t improve unless you try. You’ll also find that many locals will be patient with you and happy to help.

The good news is that your interaction doesn’t have to be completely spontaneous. If you’re practicing wh questions in class, for example, plan to ask native speakers a few questions starting with where, why, and who.

For example, ask the barista at Starbucks where the napkins are, or, if you’re in college, ask a student in line behind you at the bookstore what time they close (don’t worry: Americans won’t find this weird at all).

This way, you’re practicing what you’re learning in class outside of the classroom – and you’re using real English and gaining confidence, as well.

Make Friends from Other Countries

When you study abroad, you have the chance to meet people you would never have met had you stayed home, people from different countries with very different life experiences. It’s an incredible chance to learn and grow.


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Try to make friends with other people in your program. Have lunch together, take trips together, and discuss the joys and challenges of life abroad. You’re all sharing a unique experience, and ESL students studying abroad often develop a deep bond.

Don’t

Only Hang out with People from Your Country

Many ESL students go abroad with the intention of speaking English as much as possible and spending most of their time with native speakers and students from other countries.

Unfortunately, when you’re living abroad it’s very common to experience loneliness and culture shock, and a natural reaction to these feelings is to seek out the familiar.

While clinging to people from your own country feels good in the short-term, you may look back on your experience and regret not taking advantage of the rare and amazing opportunity you had to learn something new and get out of your comfort zone.

Sure, you can make friends from your own country, but don’t spend all of your time with them. Branch out and grow!

Only Have Fun and Forget to Study

You’re guaranteed to have fun – lots of fun – when you’re studying abroad. There are new people, new sights, new food, and new alcoholic drinks. It’s tempting to get sucked in and neglect your studies, but remember that you only have one shot at this. Don’t go home with regrets.

Play hard, but work hard too!

Let’s face it: it’s hard learning a language. And it’s especially hard when there is pressure on you to learn it. Many people nowadays have to learn English for their jobs or to travel, or to be able to find information online (much of which is in English).

Others simply want to learn English to be able to understand music, movies, and television. When you have a need to learn a language, this can motivate you, but it can also be very worrisome and frustrating.

Whatever your motivation is to learn English, the process isn’t easy and some people struggle. Perhaps you’re studying on your own but you aren’t making much progress. Or maybe you’re taking an English class but you aren’t learning the same amount as your classmates.

What are the signs that you need help? And how can you get the help you need? Here are three signs to look out for and tips for finding help.

3 Signs You Need Help Learning English

1. You only understand about 30–50% of spoken English

Listening is an incredibly important skill to have in a language. In fact, a popular study in the 1950s found that about 45% of communication between adults is occupied by listening.

Speaking makes up 30% of communication, reading is 16%, and writing is 9%. Thus, without effective listening skills, you miss out on about half of communication with other people.

English learners often say that listening is one of the hardest skills to learn.

Listening can be difficult for several reasons: the speaker may be talking quickly; there is background noise; you can’t see the speaker (e.g., in a phone conversation); the listener has a limited vocabulary or limited knowledge of the topic; or he/she can’t distinguish individual sounds.

If you find yourself struggling to understand a speaker when he/she is speaking quickly, over the phone, or when there is background noise, you probably need to improve your listening skills.


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It would be fantastic if all listening situations were like classroom audio exercises – everyone around you is silent, the speaker is speaking slowly, and you can hear the dialogue more than one time – but obviously it’s much harder in real life.

Focus on listening and your overall communication skills will improve.

2. You can’t express what you want to express about everyday topics

When you’re first learning a language, you learn basic vocabulary related to familiar topics such as places, people, animals, and so forth. You also learn basic grammar; in English you learn the simple present, simple past, and simple future, among a couple others.

These topics and structures can help you get by in very basic situations. For example, you may be able to order food or ask for directions or tell someone basic information about yourself.

But if you can’t say much beyond these things – and you need to – then you know that you need help learning English.

3. You study a lot but you’re not improving

If you’re studying English consistently but you’re not getting better, you may need to examine the ways that you’re studying. The amount of time you put into learning a language can have an impact, but it’s not the most important factor. The way you study is much more important.

Make sure that you’re studying topics, vocabulary, and grammar that are relevant and interesting to you. Study fewer words every day but try to use those words in writing and speaking. Go for depth, not breadth.

Expand the tools you use to study. If you’ve only been using a textbook to study, go online and find some useful websites and videos; if studying is boring, find some online games you can play to practice English; see if you can find a language exchange partner or a private tutor.

Learning a language takes a lot of time and energy. There are thousands of new words, hundreds of grammar rules, and you have to learn multiple skills – speaking, reading, writing, listening, pronunciation, and more.

It would be wonderfully convenient if we could just study a language for a week or a month and master it, but of course, this isn’t possible.

But let’s say you want to learn English in 30 days. How much can you actually learn? Is it possible to become proficient, or even fluent?

In short, proficient – yes; fluent – no. Unless you are a very rare type of human being, 30 days is simply not enough time to master a language. There is too much to learn, and too many nuances.

You can learn English in 30 days, and you may even be able to become fairly proficient, but you won’t be able to achieve fluency. So how long does it take to learn English then? Here are several factors that affect the amount of time it takes to learn English.

Can You Learn English in 30 Days?

Children

For children who are immersed in a language – particularly those under 11 years old – it’s common for them to become fluent in around six months.

Children’s brains are still developing and they are able to easily absorb a new language. Children are particularly good at picking up listening and speaking. Adults, on the other hand, tend to be better at reading and writing at the beginning.

Level of Education

According to Dot Powell, the director of British Council’s ESOL Nexus, the amount of English an immigrant to the UK can learn is dependent on their level of education.

If they are illiterate in their native language, it will be much more difficult. It will also be harder for them to learn if they’ve spent little to no time in a classroom. However, if English learners already speak two to three languages, it will be easier for them to learn another.

Exposure to English

Experts agree that to achieve a high level of English, it’s vital that you hear English often. If you only speak to people from your native country, or you simply study by yourself at home, you won’t improve very much.


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Number of Hours

Experts have different opinions on the amount of time it takes to learn a language and there are numerous factors that impact your learning.

In order to become a citizen in Scotland, you need to reach what they call B1 Level or Intermediate 1. At this level, speakers should be able to hold a confident conversation in English. In the UK it’s thought that achieving this level takes around 360 hours.

If you wanted to achieve this in one month, this would mean you’d probably have to study at home and immerse yourself in English for 12 hours a day. This is probably not possible. But over two months? That’s 6 hours a day – much more achievable.

Resources to Learn English Quickly

To learn vocabulary and grammar, it’s a good idea to pick up a book or two. If you have access to the internet, there is a huge wealth of resources, including online English courses, thousands of websites, free PDFs and handouts, YouTube videos, and much, much more.

Ideally, you should listen to native English speakers as often as possible and study on your own too.

You can learn English in 30 days, but don’t expect to be fluent. Expect it to take at least two to three months to become proficient – but again, there are many factors that impact how fast and how much you can learn. Good luck!

Do you want to learn English at home? In today’s world, there are many options for you to study in the comfort of your own home. Here are some ideas to get you started.

How You Can Learn English at Home

1. Find a Great Website

The internet is an extraordinary tool for students these days. You can find a variety of websites that are designed by educators. Many of these websites are free, and you can use them to study new material, review old material, or test your knowledge about different topics.

There are so many to choose from that you might find it overwhelming. Consider learning idioms with English Sherpa or try these easy-to-navigate websites.

2. Watch Videos

Watching videos is not only fun, but you can also learn English! Surf the internet for interesting videos you can watch. YouTube is a great resource. Sit back, relax, and enjoy while you learn.

3. Read the News

While you’re online, why not catch up on the news? It’s easy to find news sites written specifically for ESL students.

Reading the news will help you improve your skills because you can see how particular grammatical structures are used in everyday speech.

4. Listen to Podcasts

A podcast is an audio show that you can download and take with you anywhere. There are thousands of different podcasts, so you can find a show based on your personal interests or hobbies.

Listening to a podcast in English can help you improve your listening skills as well as increase your vocabulary and confidence when speaking English. If you listen to an interesting show, be sure to talk to someone about it, so that you can practice speaking in English.

5. Watch English Movies and TV

A great way to learn English at home is by watching movies and TV shows. Most have subtitles if you need assistance, but you might find that you can understand what’s happening simply by watching the action on the screen.

6. Sing Along to Songs

If you enjoy karaoke, this might be a great idea for you to learn English at home. Listen to songs in English as often as you can and sing along with the songs.


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Singing along to English songs helps you practice your speaking skills. You will learn new vocabulary words and boost your confidence when speaking English.

7. Play Board Games

Playing games in English is a great way to learn English at home. There are board games based on English words, such as Scrabble and Taboo. There are also games that require you to use English in order to win the game, such as Scattergories, Clue, Cranium, or Apples to Apples.

8. Start a New Workout Routine

One of the most entertaining ways to hear English being spoken is through an exercise video.

Try working out at home with an English video. Most hosts use very simple and clear English commands, and you will be able to learn many fitness related English words. On top of all that, you can get physically healthier, too!

9. Study English Posters

You can find many English images online that you can print and study. First, open your search engine (e.g., Google, Internet Explorer, Safari) and type English collocations enclosed in italics. Then, look at the images section of the search.

You will find a huge collection of posters, worksheets, and pictures designed to help you study English. These images are free as long as you’re using them for personal use.

You can save the images on your computer and study the posters when you have free time.

10. Make Your Own Study Material

You can make flashcards and use them to study while you’re relaxing in your free time. Your flashcards can be about vocabulary or grammar. It’s easy to make these study tools and you can review them any time you want.

11. Host an English-speaking Dinner Party

Have fun with friends by inviting them to an English-speaking dinner party. If you know native English speakers, invite them too.

Everyone will enjoy the challenge of keeping the conversation in English for the night. Don’t allow your guests, or yourself, to slip into your native language.

Decide on a fun theme for your party to make it more exciting. Consider hosting a British tea party or an American burgers and fries party.

Do you think it would be exciting to study English in another country? The idea might sound scary at first, but it’s a great way to learn English, make new friends, and have an adventure.

If you’re not sure if it’s right for you, consider these reasons.

Why You Should Study English Abroad

1. Immerse Yourself

Traveling abroad to study English is a great way to surround yourself with English. If your teachers, classmates, and community all require you to use English, then you will quickly increase your language skills.

You will be amazed by how quickly you learn new vocabulary when you are surrounded by English all day!

2. Speak with Locals

Speak with the people who live around you to get to know more about the area where you are living. Talking to locals can help you improve your pronunciation and learn new expressions.

You will become more comfortable having conversations in English, and it allows you to meet some really cool people!

3. Get over Your Fears

At first, speaking English in public may be scary. After some time, however, it will start to feel normal.

Studying English abroad will help you get over your fear of speaking imperfect English. You will realize that you are studying English in order to communicate, not to pass a test.

4. Build Confidence

If you have no other choice but to speak English, then you’re going to speak English more often. The more you speak, the more confident you will feel.

This will be your chance to use all the vocabulary and grammar you have learned from your previous lessons. You will put it all to use out in the real world in real conversations.

5. Make Amazing Friends

The friends you make while studying abroad will be friends forever. You will all share a very strong bond of studying abroad and learning a language.


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You will help each other learn how to study and use English, and you will build strong friendships in your free time while you explore the place where you are living.

6. Have New Life Experiences

Going abroad to study English allows you to see new places and meet new people. This is a chance to develop yourself both personally and linguistically.

Say yes to the opportunities you find while you’re there and you will make many memories.

7. Get Serious about Learning English

It is a huge commitment to travel abroad for English studies. This action is a promise to yourself. By committing to this, you promise that you will get serious, focus, and perfect your English skills. It’s a wonderful kind of pressure!

8. Lose Distractions

Sometimes studying English in your own country allows you to lose focus on your goals. When you commit to going abroad specifically to learn English, you are focusing completely on language learning and on achieving your goals.

9. Learn Natural, Authentic English

When you study English abroad, you will find yourself living with English speakers who use natural phrases, idioms, and expressions. Over time, you will learn these expressions and start using them just like the native speakers!

10. Experience about a New Culture

Do some research online before you go abroad. Find a good school in a place you have always wanted to travel.

Then, when you are in the country, spend time learning about the local culture, food, and anything else that you find interesting.

11. Improve Your Career Prospects

Traveling abroad to learn English might also prove advantageous for your career. Employers recognize this accomplishment and may see you as a better candidate for a job. Just remember to put your great experience on your resume!

Many people ask, “Can I learn English online?” These days, the answer is “Absolutely, yes!”

Traditionally, people learn a language in a classroom or by immersing themselves in the country or region where the language is spoken. The internet, however, has changed this.

There are thousands of websites, programs, and videos available online that help you do everything. You can memorize English vocabulary, record and listen to your pronunciation, and even take live classes with a teacher.

The internet has truly opened up a whole new world of learning, particularly for those who want to study English. It even offers many benefits that learning in a classroom just can’t provide.

Reasons to Study English Online

1. You can set your own schedule

One of the biggest advantages of learning English online is that you can do it at your own convenience.

Perhaps you work in the evenings, so you can’t attend an evening class, or maybe you go to university during the day and can’t fit an English class in your schedule.

With the internet, however, you can study on your own schedule. Not only do you have 24/7 access to websites and other resources, but you can have a class with a tutor on Skype or even take an English course.

2. It is less stressful

Many of us get nervous when we have to speak English around other people; we may be embarrassed about our pronunciation or our limited vocabulary, or we’re afraid of making a mistake. This is normal. If you learn English online, though, you don’t have this fear.

You can practice speaking and pronunciation without being afraid of looking silly. You can work with a teacher one-on-one, which frees you from worrying about messing up in front of other students.

3. You have instant access to dictionaries and pictures

When you’re learning online, you have very easy access to helpful resources such as an online dictionary or photos.


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For example, maybe you’re reading an article and you see the word porch. You don’t know what a porch is, so you look it up, and you see a picture and immediately understand what it is. That’s an amazing ability to have.

There are also fantastic online dictionaries, including those for people learning English such as Merriam-Webster’s Learner’s Dictionary.

If you’re already studying something online, such as listening to a conversation or doing a grammar exercise, you can easily have another window open on your browser and type in the word you don’t know.

4. It gives you authentic listening materials

The internet is a goldmine of authentic English listening materials. From American movies to thousands of songs to university lectures. There really is something for every skill level and every type of interest.

If you’re learning English in a classroom, you’re often using materials like worksheets or scripted dialogues created by a textbook publisher. These can be helpful, but the internet gives you access to real material—real people speaking, and people speaking about topics that you actually care about.

And, if you’re studying on the internet, you may be able to access those materials instantly!