There is no replacement for formal learning environments. Learning complex grammatical rules, how to properly compose written works like essays or stories, studying English-language literature, and other more advanced aspects of English learning can really only be taught by qualified teachers with some level of structure and strategy involved. However, for mere communication, to learn some new vocabulary, or even to pick up useful slang not taught typically in academic environments, there are many free resources available and easily accessible.
- Social Media
The internet has truly revolutionized every aspect of modern life. Connecting to people around the globe is easier than ever. And, if you find yourself in an area where there are few English speakers, you might want to consider making some online friends. Sites like Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and others operate primarily in English. The majority of internet sites are hosted in English. Most YouTube videos are in English.
- Music streaming
Not only is English-language music ubiquitous on the web, but you can also easily find the lyrics to go along with your favorite jams as well. So, why not kill two birds with one stone, so to speak, and read along while you listen to the new Katy Perry or Justin Bieber record? You might pick up some slang vocabulary that you can use with a native speaker – words that, while not formal, can make communication more fun.
- Video games
Many video games are released in English. Also, many online video games like first-person shooters and role-playing games allow users to interact with each other. In these contexts, you’ll discover many native speakers. Try out your latest phrases you’ve learned in the classroom. In this way, you’ll not only learn more of the language but you’ll develop an ear for the large array of accents across the globe, from South Africa to Ireland to Canada.
Downloading or streaming films (legally) is easy on the web. For a small fee, a Netflix account will open up access to all kinds of movies and shows, many of which are in English. The next time you put on a Hollywood movie, turn off the subtitles. Try to follow along with the dialogue, relying as little as possible on translation services or other ways.
Use the gift of internet access to your benefit – the ways to increase your English skill with this medium are nearly infinite.