Easy Ways to Surround Yourself with English
Undoubtedly, the ideal environment to learn a language is a country where it is spoken. When we were children, we didn’t put any special effort into learning our mother tongue; we soaked it up naturally. Just like a child, having the opportunity to immerse yourself completely in a language forces you to read, listen and speak to everyone around you. Unfortunately, not every English learner has the opportunity to go to an English speaking country to improve their English, however, there are other ways to surround yourself with a language.
How many times do you look at your phone every day? That number will be the amount of times you have contact with English once you change the language setting. Sure, this might be a little inconvenient at first, but it will help you to create your own English environment. Next time you log on to Facebook, change the language. Do the same for Instagram, your email, and any apps you use. Do it now! Keeping your online banking in your first language might be a good idea, though.
5 minutes a day is enough time to spend on this fun language-learning app. Unless you are using a dictionary to read half of the words in this article, your English is probably already pretty good – but, don’t worry, the app will adapt itself to your level.
What do you do while you are waiting for the bus? If your answer is ‘watch silly cat videos’, then maybe it’s time to try something different! Take a few minutes to read the headlines in English. The Guardian, The Huffington Post and AlJazeera English will all keep you up to date with world affairs. If those sites are a bit too complicated for you, then try The Voice of America which reports in more simple language.
If you don’t trust yourself to find something to read in English every day, then let it come to you instead! Google have a special alerts system that will send you a daily email about your favourite subject. From politics to science to Justin Bieber, you can choose what interests you. Medium offers a similar service but with more general categories, and content from both professional and amateur journalists. To accompany your Sunday morning coffee, sign up to The Guardian’s excellent weekend briefing.
If you drive into the city every day or just don’t feel like using your hands so often, listen to the radio! The BBC’s World Service has been broadcasting news to the world for almost a hundred years. Radio 4 has documentaries that you can listen to live or on podcasts. Al Jazeera follows world events with both American and British presenters. Don’t worry if you don’t understand a lot of words – the more you listen the more you will understand.
If you want to choose exactly what you listen to, try listening to podcasts. The BBC has a fantastic selection of documentaries.
6 Change your way of thinking
Lastly, creating your own English environment is in your head. Translate the world! As you walk down the street, describe what you can see, hear and smell -It might be best to do this in your head so that you don’t look like a weirdo-. Keep a little notebook in your pocket and write down any words you don’t know to look up later.
If you are watching a film with subtitles, put them in English instead of Spanish. If you are writing a note for yourself, write it in English. If you want a good lasagne recipe, look for one in English.
Using all of these ideas, you can create your own English environment. Soon, instead of English being a class you take once a week, it will be a tool you use to interact with the world, just as your first language is today. The fastest way to learn something new is to enjoy the learning process, so find something that you enjoy in English, and add it to your daily routine.