5 ways to learn English . . . without going to classes

No school meme

I've written extensively about improving English in class and also about learning Spanish, but what about learning English outside of class?

As someone who has experienced language immersion, I believe it's the only route to learning a more natural version of the language. These days there are millions of videos, podcasts, websites and apps to help. So what's the excuse?

Classes will never be a complete solution to learning anything. You have to kindle your interest and learn by yourself too. This week's post is by an anonymous English learner who has contributed their thoughts on English outside the classroom.


Ways to improve English outside of class

The English language has always been one of those useful things to put down on your CV. Of course, it can also save you from embarrassing situations when you are abroad and need to ask someone for some directions. But, how can you improve your English level on your own?

First of all, you must be sure what your goal is. Are you just willing to improve your speaking skills and expand your vocabulary range so you can communicate easier with your English friends? Or are you in need of a certificate that proves your English level is this or that one?

If you need a qualification for professional purposes, then it is best that you join an academy where they can guide you through all the examination process. However, my suggestions are aimed at everyone regardless of if you are in the first or in the second case.

My advice: in order to optimise the learning process you should mix both options. If you are taking lessons and you decide to boost them with own-learning, you will find that your improvement is more efficient and self-rewarding.

The recommendations you are going to read about are based on my own experience. In any case, never forget that the key factors which will lead to your eventual success are a high motivation and enthusiasm. If you believe in yourself, anything is possible!

1. Reading in English

reading in library

One of the best ways to learn new words and get familiar with English expressions. It doesn’t matter if you prefer newspapers, magazines or conventional books. Nowadays, it is even more comfortable if you have an e-reader. Do it in your house, while you are on the train going back home or even in the countryside, but do it in English!

2. Watching TV series in English

television with remote

You don’t need to be a Game of Thrones fan to achieve this one. With modern TVs you can watch your favourite programs in their original version. If your TV doesn’t allow you to do so, you can always download films and series from the Internet. Don’t forget to get the original audio ones! In addition, subtitled versions are very helpful as well. Just make sure they are in English!

3. Living abroad

famous cities around the word

If you ever have the chance of getting a grant or a scholarship such as Erasmus, Leonardo Da Vinci… please, don’t say no! It is something everyone should try. Thanks to these programs, you can live for a few months in a European Union country. In my experience, this is simply the best way to get to know a country’s culture, people and of course its language. If you focus on improving your language skills you will see a remarkable difference by the time you are back at your home. Guaranteed.

4. Sharing a flat with English speakers

flatmates in picture together

Have you ever considered this option as a real opportunity to improve your skills? If the answer is no, you should. Sharing a flat can be full of advantages, especially for your pockets. Discovering new cuisine, making new friends and having good fun are amongst my favourites. Just make sure the people you are going to live with are not wildlings and won’t eat you while you are asleep!

5. Joining English speaking groups

dinner party of English group

You may have to live in a medium size city to take advantage of this one. Everywhere, there are people like you who are willing to practice their spoken skills in an informal atmosphere. Discussing the latest news with new people and a sweet glass of wine is always a good option. Explore social media and make sure you find these original groups!
Well, these are my pieces of advice for those who are willing to improve their English skills in a fun way. Taking lessons is never a bad option, but if you really want to make the difference you have to do it yourself. Be motivated. Be enthusiastic. Be original. Be different!

And never forget that, as anything in life, you make the difference. It is up to you!


Thanks anon. Some useful suggestions there! I'd like to add that listening is the key skill that's really lacking for learners of English as a foreign language (those learning in their own country). Doing lots of listening to authentic English makes all the difference with your understanding and pronunciation too.

I've listed a few of the resources that I use to kick my students' butts and get them learning at home.


If you would like help improving your English (especially writing), feel free to get in touch!