You want to be fluent in English, but you don’t want to spend years and years studying. Maybe you have an English job interview coming up, or you want to apply to a graduate program in an English-speaking country. Whatever the reason, you need to learn to speak English fast. But what can you do?
You can dramatically improve your English speaking ability in a matter of mere months, but only if you’re willing to work intensely and truly immerse yourself in the language. There are no real “shortcuts” to learning English, but there are some good methods for learning it quickly. Here are five tips you might find useful.
Travel to an English-speaking country
You’ve probably heard the advice before: the best way to learn a language is to live in a country where it’s spoken. If at all possible, you should spend some time in an English-speaking country and surround yourself with the language to improve your speaking skills. If you’re at a university that offers study-abroad programs, consider spending a semester somewhere in America or the UK. You could also consider taking a temporary job, such as working at a summer camp or tutoring in your native language, in order to live in an English-speaking country for a period of time.
Write in a journal every day and read your entries aloud
Whether or not you’re able to travel to an English-speaking country, you should write in a journal every day—in English—to help yourself learn. Try to train yourself to think in English rather than thinking of the words in your native language first and translating them into English second, and avoid becoming over-reliant on a dictionary. When you’ve finished an entry (at least a paragraph), read it out loud to practice your pronunciation and speaking skills.
Listen to native speakers as much as possible
Watch movies, listen to songs, and play podcasts in English as often as you can. If you’re spending time in an English-speaking country, pay attention to native English speakers when you’re out in public. Listen to their pronunciation, their intonation, and their speaking pace so you can learn how to speak more naturally. If you don’t live in an English-speaking country, consider making friends with an English speaker online and using Skype to have conversations together.
Use online tools to study on the go
If you have a smartphone, you can use online tools and language-learning apps to practice English even when you’re not at home. SpeakingPal English Tutor is a great app with a lot of short mini-lessons that allow you to study whenever you have five spare minutes during your day. Conversation English is another great app for improving your comprehension and speaking skills. These two are not the only apps and online tools out there, of course, so spend some time searching for a few that you like.
Spend several hours a day practicing English
If you really want to learn English quickly, you can’t just study for a couple of hours a week and stop there. You should ideally be spending at least three hours every day studying English. How do you do this? Don’t make it feel like studying. Look for ways to immerse yourself in English, including reading English newspapers, watching English TV, and talking to native speakers. Before you know it, you’ll be thinking in English rather than just translating between English and your native language in your head, and you’ll have a much easier time conversing fluently.
Are you feeling better prepared to learn English quickly? If you’ve found any of the advice in this guide useful, don’t forget to share it with a friend!