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7 Fun Ways to Learn English

Learning English is hard work.  It can become frustrating and boring, particularly if you don’t feel like you are making any significant progress. However, to become fluent you need to use English daily and the best way to break up the routine is to inject some fun, different activities into your learning.  Here are my top 7 fun ways to learn English away from the ‘classroom’:


1. Join an English Language Book Club

Most large cities will probably already have a book club established that you can join, but if necessary just start your own. There are a multitude of benefits to being a member.  Firstly, you have a group of people to hold you accountable for reading a piece of literature that you might put off doing on your own.  Knowing that in a few weeks time you’ll be in front of a group of people asking you questions about what you’ve read provides brilliant motivation!  Additionally, the meetings are a great place to meet new people whilst discussing elements of the selected book. Finally, other members can help you with words and contexts that you don’t understand.


2. Play A Game

Meet some friends at your local coffee shop for a game of Scrabble, Articulate or Pictionary.  These classic Western board games are an engaging way to practice and increase your English vocabulary, and do something different with your friends too. There are dozen of other great games for learning English, so choose a new one each week!


3. Find a Conversation Partner

One of the easiest ways to do this is by hanging out where the backpackers are.  Most cities around the world will have at least one hostel and generally these hostels have a bar or communal gathering area.  Go there and just start talking to anyone you see.  Start with ‘Have long have you been in ‘X City’?  Backpackers love meeting new people and often have all the time in the world to chat. I guarantee that this one sentence will instantly open up a conversation and you’ll become their best friend once they find out that you are a local and can offer them some inside tips on the best places in town to eat, drink and visit. This is an easy way to practice both your speaking and listening skills.


4. Write to a PenPal

Pen Pals may seem a little 20th Century, but I firmly believe that they are the best way to develop your written English and get to know another culture. PenPal World is one such organization that offers a 21st Century forum where you can meet over 1,900,000 people from around the world.  Just select an English language country that interests you and away you go!


5. Take a Trip

The next time you decide to go on holiday, book a trip with an English tour operator and even better travel solo.  Simply find any tour – it could be a two week cycling holiday in another country or just a 2 hour street food tour in your home city – that is being guided in English. The benefits are that usually the groups are small and at least 75% of the other tourists are from native English countries, which forces you to speak English on a 24/7 basis. The best thing is that the other individuals are more than happy to have long chats to you and help you learn new words and phrases, particularly local slang! I recently helped a group of ESL tourists with idiomatic phrases during a particularly long 5 hour bus ride through Kenya.  They told me later that they learned more during that session and had more fun doing so, than in any formal teaching setting they’d been in.


6. Organise a Movie Night

My friends love any excuse to get together.  I bet yours are the same, so organize an English movie night with some of your other friends that are studying English.  Order some take away, pop some popcorn and let the DVD roll.  The main benefit here is that everything you hear is exactly how it is in reality. It’s fast paced, with realistic native accents. Also this is a laid back way to immerse yourself in the language. My top tip for how to learn English by watching movies is to start watching movies that you’ve already seen before, so that you can concentrate more on the language and less on following the plot. Some good classic movies to start with include: Toy Story, Top Gun, and The Hangover.


7. Download the Magoosh Vocabulary Builder App

I’m not intentionally trying to toot my employer’s horn here, I genuinely believe that Magoosh’s free vocabulary app is one of the best ways to help build your lexical resources on a daily basis.  Essentially the app quizzes you on 1200 of the most important words in the language with audio pronunciation for each, definitions, and example sentences for every word. I love how there are basic, intermediate, and advanced sections that you work through like a game, with each level you beat unlocking a harder one with more words and more advanced vocabulary.  Treating learning like a game that you can do on your phone when you are waiting for a friend or commuting is one of the most effective and fun ways I’ve known to learn a language.  I use the app daily to increase my own vocabulary and I’m a native English speaker!

Whatever you do, don’t give up!  The more you surround yourself with native English activities, the quicker you will learn. Just remember that learning a language should be fun!


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