How to Incorporate English Practice into Your Everyday Life

  1. Talk to yourself in English. Repeating words and sentences out loud is a great way to improve pronunciation and casual conversation. Speaking the words can boost your confidence. If you have a pet, try addressing them in English — though they may not respond!

  2. Combine your interests with your language studies. Motivation is key. If you wouldn’t read about volleyball in your native language why would you learn about it in English? The saying “go with what you know” applies here. If you want to retain vocabulary and improve comprehension, study topics you’re already interested in. Read books and articles about the topics and summarize them in English. Watch documentaries. These websites [] have tons of free, streaming documentaries in English.

  3. Learn with music. Listen to the radio and memorize the lyrics to your favorite songs. Language learning with music is not only fun, the method is backed up by science []. Songs will teach you new combinations of words and improve pronunciation. It’s often easier to sing than to speak. If you really want a challenge, go sing karaoke in English!

  4. Get personal and keep a journal. Write down new words in a journal and use them to describe moments in your life. Connecting the words to your everyday life will help you memorize them. With a small, portable journal or phone app you’ll be able to reference and record new words and phrases on the go. Rewrite your life story in English.

  5. Use a language app for basic skills. Though not a substitute for English coaching/tutoring and more traditional study methods, apps like [] Duolingo are great for beginners. Introductions to basic vocabulary and grammar are transformed into a fun and social video game. With Duolingo, advancing your skills earns you badges and points. Plus, you can connect with your friends and see how they’re doing. A little competition is a good thing. The best part is, you can do it from anywhere.

  6. Don't stress. Make mistakes. You will make mistakes. They’re an inevitable part of the learning process. You may go to the store and ask to buy an elephant when all you wanted was a pair of socks. Mixing up words and phrases is completely normal and a natural part of learning. Most people are helpful and understanding. They may laugh with you but not at you. A sense of humor is key. Learn to laugh at yourself and move on. Maybe you do want to buy an elephant after all! They are very cute.

  7. Stay focused and positive. Speaking of mistakes, never tell yourself that you’ll forget a word. Don’t set yourself up for failure. A positive attitude really does go a long way when it comes to learning. Remember everything you've learned so far and be proud. Focus on your goals — learning a new language. Always think: This is easy. No problem. I got this.

  8. Repeat Repeat Repeat. Turn your English practice into a daily routine. Be disciplined in your studies. Set aside a block of time each day for language learning. Consistency is key. Remember your favorite teacher from school and be that teacher. They were firm but compassionate.

  9. Hire an English coach/tutor. One-on-one English instruction fosters accountability and helps keep you on track. The world is full of distractions but the right teacher will motivate you to focus and improve your skills. If there are particular areas you’re weak in, reading comprehension for instance, a personal English coach can tailor your lessons to focus on that area.

  10. Go on a date. If you happen to be single, dating someone fluent in the target language is an ultimate motivator. You’ll want to be able to keep up with them and impress them with your conversation skills. Even if you’re not single or looking to date, find a friend and arrange coffee dates. The idea is the same — an excuse to practice your conversation skills.

  11. Browse the web. There are many language learning sites out there with tons of tips and study guides. I recommend the following [] the BBC’s Learning English, [link] Voice of America’s Learning English for additional practice with a focus on English Reading comprehension, vocabulary, and grammar, and [] Rachel's English for pronunciation and listening comprehension.

  12. Have fun! An obvious but often overlooked piece of advice for learning, well, anything. Sure, learning a language is challenging, but there are many opportunities for play. Remember games from your childhood when you were learning your first language. Try to incorporate games and activities into your practice. Enjoy the exciting new adventure you’re on!

Marike Korn