When you have just arrived in London, it can take time to master the English language. Here is some useful advice in order to rapidly improve your English, provided by Mailys Finel, from the language school Callan School London, today’s guest writer for our blog.
Even though sometimes it may feel like it, you are not the only person who has recently moved, along with your entire family, to London with the impression that you don’t speak English properly. Many others are in the same boat. It can take quite a long time to improve and also to realise that you have made progress.
This is an example of the perfect day for someone learning English in London! Read through our “ideal” day and try to copy it in order to improve your progress in English. The key is to practise as much as you can:
Listen to a BBC Learning English podcast in the morning at home, while you are having your breakfast. Try “6 Minute English” and “The English We Speak”!
Read one or two articles from an English newspaper on the tube and if you are not too squashed, try to underline the words you are not familiar with. When you get home from work in the evening, look up the translations for the words you did not know.
9:30 am – 6:00 pm:
When you go to work, make an effort to speak and write in English as much as you can. Don’t forget to take breaks with English colleagues, not only to socialise but also to practise your English. Don’t hesitate to ask your English colleagues to correct you when you make mistakes.
If you look after your own children, don’t avoid the English parents when you drop your kids off at school. Go for a coffee with them and try to find an English parent who wants to learn your language and start a conversation exchange! There is also the Conversation Exchange website which is useful to find someone to meet up with regularly. Finally, if you would prefer to be part of a group, there are plenty of organised events in London. For example, see Franglish.eu if you are French.
There is also the option of attending English classes which focus on speaking and listening if you want to make quick progress.
Also, if you have any spare time, working for a charity is a good way of practising your English and meeting interesting people. Charities such as Oxfam, the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research, etc. are always looking for volunteers.
In the evening, you could watch another short lesson on Engvid.com.
However, if you are too tired for this, why don’t you enjoy a good film in your living room instead? It needs to be in English but don’t hesitate to put the English subtitles on. Keep them on for ten minutes then switch them off to watch without them for another ten minutes. Keep repeating this process. Your listening skills will quickly improve.
You might also like to read a bilingual book when you retire for the night. The Penguin Classics collection is well written and much recommended.
At the weekend, there are lots of opportunities and ways to improve your English. You could go to the cinema to watch an English film or to the theatre. Forget a bit about films in your native language! There are many branches of the Odeon, Vue etc. all over London. If you want to have dinner at the same time, go to the Electric Cinema in Portobello Road. It is a fun place!
You might also like to attend a lecture in English at one of the fantastic museums in London. Free tours are organised regularly at the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum. Walking tours around the city are also easy to find. Free Tours London organise tours every day for all the family: don’t miss the Old City tour, the Royal tour and the Jack the Ripper tour. All of them are free!
Don’t forget the short conversations you have in your daily life. Chatting with the cashier at the local supermarket, the teachers at your children’s school, or with people walking their dogs in the park helps even if it is just for five minutes each time. Make the effort and be patient. You will improve your English!
Article written by Callan School London.
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Learning a new language can be difficult so check out our tips on how to learn English when you arrive in the UK.