3 Tips for English Learners Who Want to Take Their English Speaking to the Next Level
Staying motivated to speak English as a student is difficult unless you are in a face to face conversation with an actual English speaker. If you only have the Internet to use for practice, it is easy to find reasons not to log on. That is because your computer or Smartphone doesn’t talk back. You need live people to talk with you, react to you, and help with your fluency. Detailed below are three easy ways you can find native English speakers anywhere there is a medium-sized city nearby.
In the beginning, these steps may take a little work, but the payoff is worth it! If you persist, you can set up a large network of new, English-speaking friends in your home country, or any country for that matter. You will be having loads of fun as you put yourself in new situations, and meet interesting people from all walks of life.
Where do you find these people? How do you get them to talk to you? Google is your best friend here.
Expats in Your Country
Expat is short for expatriate. It’s a word/name for a person who has a home outside their country. For example, if you are from Beijing, and have moved to Great Britain you would be an “expat.” It’s normal while living in another culture, to look for people from your country. You may miss having a conversation in your native language and hanging out at a restaurant that serves good food from your culture. To fix this, you would Google the word “China expatriate Great Britain.” Google would come up with a list of restaurants and places (with maps!) close by, that you could go to meet people from your country.
Use this same method to find English speakers inside your country. Google “American (Australian, South African, Great Britain, etc.) expatriate in Beijing.” You will get the same results: a list of restaurants and places close to you where expats go to socialize.
Take action! Pick a restaurant and go! Enjoy some food from another country, then find a friendly face and start a conversation. For the price of a drink or a meal, you will find yourself in the middle of a group of English speakers who are relaxed and having fun. Take advantage of this. You may ask, “what should I say?” Keep this link handy on your Smartphone: 250 conversation starters . You will never be at a loss for words. Watch as your fluency, pronunciation, and confidence grow.
Meetup is an international networking website with huge possibilities for English language students. Go to meetup.com and key in your city, or the largest city nearest to you. There will be many fun meetups displayed, but to find English speakers you need to take it a step further. Using the search box, key in: “English speakers.” You may come up with a variety of results to choose from.
For example, if I were Brazilian living in Rio I would look for an English Meetup in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. I would Google, “Meetups, Rio de Janiero.” Then I would key in the word, “English.” Here would be my result:
Expats and English Speakers of Rio De Janeiro We are a wonderful Social Networking Event To Meet Other English Speakers Who Live And Visit Rio De Janeiro, Brazil- Our group members are Tourists, Investors, Small Business Owners, and Entrepreneurs doing business and living in Rio De Janeiro -Brazil.
Meet other Expats and English Speakers from all over the World and Brazilian friends who speak English in your area. We can learn and laugh from each others experiences! We can give pointers and network as business partners!
Find a new friend! Network! Practice your English!”
Now that is a very friendly invitation. There will also be a date, time and address to go for the meetup. Meetup groups always have a person who runs the meeting, so you don’t have to do anything but show up, be social, and speak English. Meetup is for all levels of English language students, and it is free.
Toastmasters is a group of people who meet just to practice their speaking and public speaking skills. These clubs will meet in different locations including restaurants, local community centers, colleges and corporate meeting rooms. They are focused on preparing each other for public speaking. Toastmasters is a great opportunity for practicing your English in a formal situation. The meeting is called to order, and two members have a prepared speech ready. Club members will take on support roles. There will be a timer, a grammarian, and an “ah-counter.” This is someone who counts how many times the speaker says “ah” or “uh.” As they finish the meeting, each person gives a two-minute speech on a random subject.
Toastmasters is for level five and above students who may be pursuing a career where they have to give speeches or presentations. It has a global network of almost 16,000 clubs in 142 countries. Find a Toastmasters Club near you.There is a small fee to join, due every six months. However, you can go free as a guest to see if Toastmasters would work for you.
Check out this video of an actual Toastmasters Club meeting.
Speaking fluent English is a long-term process. The fun part is being social, meeting new people from other countries and making life-long friends. If English speaking people are guests in your country, they are happy to help you with pronunciation through conversation. You are also bringing value to the conversation because you can answer any of their questions about your culture. You have the local knowledge they lack. You may be the only person they talk to all week who speaks two, or more languages. That’s powerful, so go for it! Don’t be shy.
Megy Davis taught English in Spain, Italy, Costa Rica and Florida, USA. Visit her face book page Megan’s English Language Lounge for random bits of English.