Kaplan International is having a blogging contest to find out what people think about their “How to Learn English” infographic. As an ESL teacher in Korea, I feel like I have some experience to speak on this topic. First, let’s look at the infographic:
First of all, it raises the question: do you need to travel to an English-speaking country to learn English? Based on the people I’ve met here, the answer is no. However, if you want to have really good pronunciation and be able to use colloquial language, you’ll either need to seek native English speakers in your home country or travel abroad.
It is much, much easier to learn a language if you are forced to use it all the time! I find this to be true with my experience learning Korean. So in that way, traveling to an English-speaking country will help a lot. If you go to an English-speaking country, you will find that your English will improve very quickly. Just remember to keep practicing when you get home!
Where should you go? That’s up to personal preference. I don’t think any of the major 7 English-speaking countries (USA, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa) have “better” or “more correct” English. It’s all English! Just pick the place you are most interested in seeing.
If you aren’t able to travel to an English-speaking country, movies, TV shows, and video games are a great way to expose yourself to English. You will be able to hear how things are really pronounced. While watching movies or TV shows, try to make a list of the words or phrases you didn’t understand to look them up later. In this way, you can learn many idioms, which are important to know to sound more like a native speaker.
The best way to learn English is to use English. Find a conversation partner, either a native speaker (preferable), or a fellow learner of English, and speak to them in English often. Practice is key.
Don’t be afraid to try! English is really hard. Most native speakers know this. They won’t think badly of you if you make a mistake. Being able to communicate should be your goal. If a native speaker can understand you, congratulations, you have used English effectively!
I think practicing speaking to someone at least a little every day is the best way to improve your English. Taking classes is a great way to learn more grammar and vocabulary, but you will need to use it to really learn it!
Finally, if you are learning English, don’t give up! You can do it! It is really difficult, but if you really want to learn English, you can. Good luck!