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Tips to Improve Your English on a Budget

Tips to Improve Your English on a Budget

Learning a new foreign language, especially learning English, can be challenging for adults. It requires dedication, effective strategies, and speaking practice. LOTS of practice. English is essential in Canada, one of the prime English-speaking countries, since it’s one of the two official languages. Achieving English fluency can lead to better job opportunities, enhance communication skills, and help navigate Canadian culture.

For those of us from Western countries, there's a high likelihood we grew up watching American movies and TV. Despite this exposure, we recognize the need to boost our English language skills. Even if we have a basic to intermediate English level, this doesn't mean we can’t improve our English speaking skills and achieve language proficiency.

Read on for some proactive tips to help you on your journey to improving your English skills!

Download Language Apps

Apps like Duolingo, Rosetta Stone, and even Google Translate are useful. There’s no harm in seeking a quick translation for a new word. These apps let English learners progress at their own pace, tracking their English learning journey. Most are free, turning your phone into portable English lessons.

To learn more, you might want to check out our article, 5 Best Apps To Learn English in 2023

Join English Practice Events

Vancouver’s Public Library is an excellent spot for speaking practice. Their events are advertised as being suitable for intermediate English speakers, but it’s also a good resource for beginners as they offer an environment to practice and mingle. Improve your language skills while making friends. The best part: it's all FREE! 

If libraries aren't appealing, some religious communities may offer English courses for free, catering to both the soul and your language skills. Contact the Place of Worship directly or check out their website or Facebook page for news of their events and resources. 

Watch F.R.I.E.N.D.S.

Believe it or not, many credit the show "Friends" as a pivotal English course, including Oscar nominee Ana de Armas. It isn't just about this specific series; pick any North American content, set it to its original language with English subtitles, and dive in. Embracing English in its written form while also listening to the audio can train your brain and accelerate your English pronunciation.

Gaming, especially narrative-heavy games, serves a similar purpose. Combining leisure with language learning is indeed a win-win.

If watching Friends is not for you, perhaps you’d prefer to…

Make English-speaking Friends

Immersion is key to mastering any language. Some even actively seek native English speaker friends for daily practice. Making friends in Vancouver might seem daunting, but leveraging the city's multiculturalism and your speaking skills can break barriers.

Here are some avenues to explore:

  • Sports teams: Bond over games and post-match hangouts.

  • Language exchange programs: You may have already signed up for an English Language Course with your college or university but it's a good idea to also ask them if they have a program to pair you with a native speaker who may be eager to learn your language.

  • Local coffee shops: A casual setting often invites friendly chats.

  • Whether it's an English language meetup or a hobby group, it can be the perfect way to meet English speakers.

  • Volunteering: A reliable way to meet locals and practice your English. Search for causes in Vancouver that interest you or ask a local place of worship if they can point you in the right direction. 

  • Outdoor Activities: Vancouver’s landscapes offer ample group activities, from hiking to beach events. Search Facebook to find out if there is a hiking or kayaking group you can join. 

  • Student Clubs: College or University clubs are great places to interact with international students as well as native English speakers. Most schools have clubs that cover a wide variety of interests. 

Canadians, especially Vancouverites, are known for their warmth. Be proactive, and share your desire to enhance your English, and many will be eager to assist.

Pay For a Language School or a Private Tutor

While not the most budget-friendly, professional courses or tutors can significantly elevate your English proficiency. 

You may already be studying at a school dedicated to learning English, such as VGC International College, Vancouver, but if not, a simple search will reveal numerous English language courses and professionals catering to diverse budgets. 

Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist are both good places to find a native speaker who can provide you with an English lesson or you can simply do a Google search for your local area.

Remember to Practice and be Patient

Achieving English fluency isn't an overnight feat. Regular practice, coupled with patience, is pivotal. Most will empathize with your learning journey, alleviating any pressure. Keep pushing, and soon, the nuances of English grammar, pronunciation, and vocabulary will become second nature in your quest for the Canadian dream.

Please join us on our Slack community to share more tips and tricks on learning English in real time.

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