The problem is that there is this misconception that if you want to improve your skills in a foreign language, you need to sit down and study it at least thirty minutes to an hour a day, and many even believe that you have to study abroad or pay for expensive classes in order to become fluent.
While both of these things can be helpful, they are not necessary to become fluent.
What is necessary is to make language learning an every day habit. It doesn’t take a lot of time, but what’s really important is that you immerse yourself in the language a little bit every single day.
There are many fun and natural ways to do this—so it doesn’t have to be very difficult. You just need to experiment and play with different methods to find the way that works best for you.
All you need is about fifteen minutes per day, which I know we all have if we just look for it.
This article is the third part of a series on how to learn English in about 15 minutes. Remember to read the other two parts:
Today, we are going to look at two more ways to do this: by speaking with people online and with online classes.
Sounds pretty good, right? Let’s improve our English!
Talk to People Online– 10+ minutes
This method is harder to do anywhere, than, for example, listening to podcasts, as you might imagine. But you might be surprised how easy it is to do nowadays if you have an extra ten minutes at work or at home. And I know you do.
We have recently launched the RealLife Global Social Network for language learners. You can quickly and simply hop on, make an account, and talk to people from every corner of the globe on our Global Chat. We also offer private chat, messaging, and will soon have video chat, too!
So instead of wasting your coffee break on Facebook, why not check out RealLife Global and practice your English!
The first program is italki. On italki you can find exchange partners and talk via chat or message, so this is good if you don’t feel confident in your speaking yet. However, I recommend that you step out of your comfort zone and talk to people face-to-face, too.
On italki, you can look at different peoples’ profiles and find someone to talk to who has similar interests or goals as you, or someone from a certain place that you want to visit or move to.
To learn more, check out this article I wrote about speaking English online.
I could write an entire long article about what an amazing program and community CouchSurfing is (and I did!). But in this article, I’m just going to give you a quick overview.
It is an international community of travelers, so it’s a great way to meet other people with wanderlust (a passion for travel) all over the world. The main purpose of the website is to help you find a free place to stay while traveling, or to host travelers in your own city. But it has become much more than this.
You can use CouchSurfing to find foreigners living in your city to practice English with in person. You just do a search for people in your area, click to more options tab, and then select a language to find all the people in your area who speak it. I actually used Couchsurfing to meet a friend from France with whom I practice my French (and he practices his English with me).
Almost every big city in the world has a CouchSurfing community, which generally has meet ups every week, so this can be another great way to meet language learners and foreigners in your city. Just check out the events in your city.
There is also a chat area, so if there is a certain country or city you’re interested in traveling to, you can find people from that place to talk to.
It’s crucial that you go check CouchSurfing out for yourself later.
Livemocha has online English courses, which I’m not a huge fan of, but I do like their international community of language learners. You can create an account and connect with other people, like you, who are passionate about learning languages. Just sign in and click the people tab.
This randomly sets you up on video chat with someone. If the person is interesting, you can continue speaking to them, if not you can skip to another person. Primarily English speakers use ChatRoulette, so it can be a valuable place for you to practice your English for a few minutes, and is especially beneficial for a little more advanced English learners.
English Communities and Forums
There are a lot of great ESL communities where you can connect with other English learners and English speakers. These are great for all skill levels. They give you a chance to connect with people all over the world and share others’ cultures.
I recommend you check out our RealLife English International Community on Facebook.
Forums are also an awesome way to practice your English just a few minutes a day. A forum is a community set up around a certain topic or hobby where you can ask questions and have discussions relating to that theme.
If you’re a more advanced English learner, then I recommend you also try a forum around a particular interest you have (they exist for anything and everything that interests you). Just do a Google search for “X forum” (“X” being something that interests you). Some random examples are:
Yes, these all exist. As you can see, no matter how specific your interest is, you can find other people that are interested in it, and a forum for it. Share your interests, your knowledge, and your culture with others and improve your English!
Participate in Online Classes – 15+ minutes
There are a couple ways that you can participate in classes and practice groups online, and often for a low price or even free!
italki offers classes with competent native speaking English teachers or tutors–and you can choose. I recommend you try sessions with different teachers until you find the perfect one for you. With a little research I have found classes for as little as four American Dollars per hour.
Verbling runs FREE online practice sessions via Google Hangouts, so up to nine people can actively participate. If a session is full, you can still watch it and ask questions on the chat function.
There is almost always a group open, and sometimes multiple to choose from. It’s a great idea to join a practice session during your coffee break. You’re guaranteed to learn something new.
Tools like RealLife Global, Verbling, italki, CouchSurfing, and online communities go far beyond just language learning. They are helping to connect the world. To dissolve the cultural barriers that we have grown to believe exist.
The more you use these tools, the more that you will learn that the stereotypes and preconceptions that we have about other people and cultures aren’t really true. When you actually meet people, you’ll see that the cultural differences are small when compared with the BIG similarities that we all have as human beings.
By moving beyond these traditional ideas of seeing others as outsiders, we can really change the world together, and English is the vehicle with which we will do it.
So remember to make English a fun habit that you can do every day. Make English a part of your life, and use it to change the world!