Every year is the same. We promise ourselves to eat more healthily, exercise more and save money. It all seems very easy, at least for a week or two. But as January draws to an end, the gyms start to empty and the bars get busy again it’s easy to forget those promises we made.
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Another favourite new year’s resolution is to improve our level of English, but finding the motivation to study and practice can be really hard!
So here are 10 ideas to help you keep your new year’s resolution and give your English a boost in 2018.
Signing up for an official language exam can be a great way to find that extra motivation you need to study. When we have to pass exams, homework and practice outside of class become much more important. You’ll have a fixed objective to work towards and the practice exams you do during your course will give you an idea of which areas you need to focus on.
If you plan to travel and want to study, work or live abroad the IELTS is probably the one for you.
Not sure of your level? Take our online level test and find out.
If you are already studying a language or would rather spend your time learning something new, taking an online course in English is a great way to practice your reading, writing and listening skills, while learning new vocabulary which is relevant to your interests.
Udemy offers a range of cheap courses in everything from photography and web design to investing in cryptocurrencies and playing the piano.
Looking for something more academic? Future Learn has nearly 200 free online courses from top universities and specialist organisations.
A great way to practise your English is to find someone who doesn’t share the same first language as you. There a number of ways to do this:
If you aren’t sure how to approach someone for the first time – offer them the opportunity to do a language exchange with you to improve their Spanish or Catalan.
For the more introverted amongst us, downloading an app can be a good option. Try to find times during your day when you have a spare 5 minutes, such as riding the metro, drinking your morning coffee or walking the dog.
These are our favourite apps to learn English:
If you don’t like looking down at your phone all the time, listen to a podcast while going about your daily chores.
Blogging is an excellent way to express yourself, share your ideas with others and improve your writing skills. Create a free blog with WordPress and write about your experiences learning English, your hobbies, places you’ve visited or anything else which you find interesting.
If you are more comfortable in front of a camera record yourself and become the next big thing on Youtube.
There are many ways to kickstart your reading but one of the easiest is to pick up a book and read it. If you are worried it will be too difficult start with a graded reader or a book you’ve already read in your own language.
There are many places to find affordable books in English:
Set yourself an achievable target and stick to it. You can do this by time (e.g. 30 minutes a day), number of pages (e.g. 5 pages a day) or chapters (e.g. 1 chapter a week).
Most shows have subtitles (available in English) in case you struggle to understand the accents. Start with short episodes like Modern Family and work your way up to longer ones.
Like with reading, set yourself realistic goals. Or if there’s a rainy Sunday binge-watch the whole lot!
This may not be realistic for everyone, but with the availability of budget airlines and websites such as Scott’s cheap flights, Skyscanner and the Flight hopper app, there are plenty of good deals out there.
As well as the obvious English-speaking countries like the UK, Ireland and the U.S, etc., think about visiting those where English is widely spoken. Countries like India, Singapore and the Philippines have many native English speakers. You could also visit other countries where there is a very high level of English, such as the Netherlands, Denmark or Sweden.
While travelling stay in hostels and make an effort to talk to people in the social areas. 9 times out of 10 English will be the language of choice between those from different countries.
Can’t afford an exotic holiday? Volunteer with Workaway.
Do you have a spare bedroom in your house? If so, hosting an English speaker could be a valuable use of the space. One way is to find a language Au Pair who will help you and your children with English in exchange for accommodation and meals.
Another option is to rent out your room to a trainee English teacher from Oxford TEFL. You’ll earn money and also have someone to speak to practise with.
For more information contact us on email@example.com.
Often the best way to improve your level of English is to take classes with a qualified teacher. Not only will the cost of the classes motivate you to keep attending, but nothing can replace the quality feedback you’ll receive or the social experience of learning a language.
If you don’t live near a language school you could try finding a teacher online.
Are you going to try any of the suggestions above? Or maybe you have some other ideas to improve your English in 2018? We’d love to hear from you!
Find the following words in the article and then write down any new ones you didn’t know.
draw to an end (exp): to come to an end.
hang out (pv): to spend time in a place with someone.
chores (n): routine tasks usually at home like the washing up.
kickstart (v): to start something fast.
graded reader (n): books that are specially created for learners of foreign languages.
stick to (pv): do something that you promised to do.
not someone’s cup of tea (exp): something which you are not interested in.
struggle (v): to find something challenging or difficult.
binge-watch (v): to watch multiple episodes of a TV series in rapid succession.
exp = expression
adj = adjective
pv = phrasal verb
n = noun
v = verb