How to get the best out of your English language immersion
The best way to learn English is to immerse yourself in it fully. Everyday interactions with local people will provide you with opportunities to improve your listening, reading, and speaking skills outside the classroom. Here are some tips for making the most of your course and of your experience of London.
Before you arrive, review the grammar and vocabulary you already know. This will refresh your mind and set you up to start learning again. Watch films and TV series in English to familiarise yourself with the sound of the language. Students often find listening the most challenging when they arrive in the UK and it takes a few days to get used to the different accents and dialects. Consider taking online lessons before coming to boost your confidence and help you feel more comfortable speaking to Londoners from the moment you arrive.
Social events are perfect for practising your new language skills in a relaxed environment. Choose activities from our social programme, for example, museum visits, trips to interesting neighbourhoods, meals in restaurants and pubs, and fun activities such as bowling and the cinema. These trips help you learn about local culture in London, and stimulate conversations with your fellow students.
During the school day, use breaks and lunchtime to chat with other students in your class and from other courses. Be confident, and practise whenever you can. It is natural to feel shy, but remember, all the other students will also be practising with you!
Stay with a family
To maximise your exposure to British culture, consider staying with an English family – this kind of accommodation is called a ‘homestay’. This experience offers a unique view into everyday life in a typical home away from the tourist hot spots. In our opinion, there is no better way of starting the day than with a friendly ‘hello!’.
Keep a journal
Why not keep a journal of your experiences? Write it in English for a great way to practise your writing.
During your visit to London, every single minute is an opportunity for learning. Read the adverts on the tube platforms and listen to the announcements when you travel. Watch other people’s conversations and note their body language. Pick up a free newspaper. Watch TV shows or listen to the radio in the evening and try and pick out unfamiliar words. Go shopping and ask for help finding your size or the item you are looking for. Take a black cab and ask your driver a question – London cabbies are well known for being talkative!
Join a group to share an interest
It is much easier to think of things to say and to make conversation with a person when you share an interest. You can find people with similar interests on websites such as Meetup, even if you are in London for only a short time.
We look forward to welcoming you to London!
Immerse: to become involved in or with something
Interactions: communications with somebody
Challenging: demanding or with some difficulty
Exposure: without protection
Adverts: short for advertisement. A poster or piece of communication intended to sell you something
Platform: a raised level surface, the standing area for passengers waiting for a train
Dialects: forms of language specific to a group or region
Cab: a taxi
Cabbie: a taxi driver
This blog has been written at level B1. Practise your reading and listening by reading the blogs below.
More English tips and skills
- 7 mistakes that English learners often make (level C1)
- How to learn English in 2021 (level C1)
- How to write effective business and work emails in English (level B2)
- How to choose the best learning method for you (level B2)
- How to overcome negative self-talk when learning a new language (level B2)
- Useful expressions for negotiating (level B2)
- Business English for job applications: writing your CV and cover letter (Level C2)