Putting Your English to Use
Welcome to Lesson 6 of the How to Make English a Part of Your Life mini-course!
Language is a human invention for communication! So, if you’re not using it to communicate, what good is it?
In this short lesson you’ll learn how to put everything that you’ve learned so far into use and to actually start SPEAKING.
Don’t just learn English, LIVE it!
Hey this is Ethan from RealLife English, and I want to welcome you to lesson six of Make English a part of Your Life.
If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart –Nelson Mandela
Whatever your purpose is, it most likely has something to do with being able to communicate well in the language.
Before the invention of the Internet, this was probably pretty difficult to do without actually living abroad. But nowadays living abroad isn’t even necessary to reach a level of fluency in a foreign language.
This is because of communities online that facilitate the connection of language learners who support each other and hold each other accountable.
They also make it easier to find exchange partners, for example, a native English speaker who wants to learn your language, with whom you exchange conversation in your language for conversation in English.
Let’s take a look at some communities and websites that are helping language learners facilitate connecting with one another.
I’m probably partial, but the RealLife English International Community (or the RealLife Global social network) is a great place to participate in discussions with other English learners, and you can even make friends with whom you can chat with and even speak with on Skype.
Many RealLifers, as we like to call them, feel like they have found a home within the community. A place where they can share ideas and inspiration. And of course, a place where they are learning a little bit every day about other cultures, people, and, it goes without saying, English.
italki.com has so many features! It allows users to find exchange partners to Skype with, hire a teacher for private classes, and participate in the community by keeping a journal and getting feedback from other members.
Like italki.com, Verbling also allows you to find exchange partners, but you can speak right on their website! You can also join group classes, get a private tutor, or join practice groups with other language learners.
Using Your English in Real Life
Your fear is 100% dependent on you for its survival –Steve Marboli
Meeting people to speak with online is great, of course. But if you really want to put your English speaking to the test, you’re going to have to use it in person.
If you can study or work abroad or travel, that’s awesome! Definitely take advantage of it. However, I realize that not everyone has this opportunity, but there are still a lot of ways that you can meet people to practice speaking with.
If you live in a big city then it is likely that you can find language exchanges, study groups, conversation clubs, or some other place where you can practice your English. I want to share some resources with you that I love, which will help you find these kinds of events in your city.
In cities like Barcelona and Madrid, for example, one could attend a language exchange almost every day of the week on Meetup. If you live in a big city, it’s definitely a website that you want to check out.
To learn more, click the link in the transcript.
This is originally a website for travelers. If you are traveling, a local can offer you a place to stay for free, and you can also choose to host visitors in your city.
But for English learners, the most pertinent part of this website is the events. In practically any big city there will be weekly or monthly CouchSurfing parties, and you can also find many other types of events. CouchSurfing events generally include a lot of tourists and expats, so obviously this means a lot of English speakers.
To learn a lot more about how to use CouchSurfing for your English learning, look for the link below.
The RealLife Global Movement
RealLife started with local events in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. These local English-speaking parties are at the heart of the project and they are what inspired us to create all of the aspects of this movement that you can see today.
If you live in Brazil or Spain (Now in MORE countries!), we would love to meet you at one of our local events.
So, if you are interested in learning more about the RealLife movement, or about how to bring it to your city, remember to check out the “parties” section of our website.
Speaking is arguably the most important part of learning any language. It’s the aspect of connection that makes all the hard work worthwhile. And no matter what your level is, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be practicing what you’ve learned so far with real people, be it native speakers, teachers or other learners like yourself.
Alright, you’ve almost finished the Make English a Part of Your Life course! All that’s left is an exercise that is going to help you reflect on your English learning goals and make a plan to take your learning into your own hands.
To wrap up today’s lesson, I highly recommend that you watch a short TedTalk from Benny Lewis, a polyglot who has been a big inspiration to us as language learners and teachers. You can find the link in the transcript below.
Watch Benny Lewis’ phenomenal TedTalk on language learning