How to Learn English If you’re Broke!

I was inspired to create this blog post because a few days ago, I lost a student of mine due to financial circumstances. I felt really bad for her and didn’t really know how to help her. Reflecting back on it, it really made me thankful that I grew up in an English speaking country and I had the opportunity to learn English which opens up many more opportunities for me compared to others less fortunate than myself. After this incident, it prompted me to do some research on this topic so that hopefully I can help others in the future who are also facing financial constraints. Hopefully this post can help others who are currently looking for resources on learning English but don’t have the financial resources to do so or for instructors who are looking to provide their students with some additional resources to help with their students learning.

So here it is folks, in no particular order or preference:

  • Duolingo. It’s an online language learning website where you can learn various different languages including English, Spanish or French. The app is also available for your mobile phone in case you want to sneak in a lesson or two while commuting on the subway. The last time I used it, you were able to work on your spelling, pronunciation, and recognition of words. I tried this sucker a few years back to learn French. Although it was intuitive to use, I found the voice recognition really irritating. Often times it would not pick up exactly what I was saying through my microphone and I spent a fair amount of time stuck in one section. I also found this way of learning French very boring but that just might have been me.
  • YouTube. Come on, did you really think I could leave out the king of online video content out? There are various     YouTube channels available that teach English online. I tried my hand on this option when I was learning French. I found it quite useful and my vocabulary greatly improved using this method. The downsize to this is that the interactive element is missing and you’re at the mercy of what video tutorials are available.
  • Language Exchange websites. In my personal opinion I think this option is a great alternative to paying for tutors online. There are many language exchange websites out there where you can meet people from different facets of life and practice whatever language you so desire. One of my favourites is Interpals. There are profiles and pictures of each user on the site, however you might end up with an old geezer at the other end of the screen from time to time :p. Also just a warning, there are many people on the site who use it as a dating website. If you’re female, especially a really attractive one, prepare to be hit on constantly by the hungry desperate men from around the world. That’s not to say that you won’t be hit on if you’re a male too. So far I’ve received one marriage proposal, several requests to have my number and Skype ID, and numerous girls telling me how cute and handsome I am. Damn it, if only flights were cheaper!
  • Go talk to a Foreigner or Native English Speaker. Duh! It costs you absolute nothing except maybe make you look really creepy if your not calibrated properly or perhaps embarrassment if you butcher your English or but that’s ok because you probably won’t ever see that person ever again. So the next time you see a foreigner around, go walk up to them and introduce yourself and just start talking in English. They’ll probably be thinking “What the hell? Why is this dude talking to me in broken English?” Just remind yourself you need to get over this initial hump and that life goes on 🙂
  • Go to the library or search online for some free PDF books or websites. There’s literally hundreds if not thousands of books and websites out there that teach English for non-native speakers.

Ok now you got some resources to learn English so no more excuses. Go out there and start practising!

I will be updated this list from time to time. If you guys have any suggestions for any other places to learn English, feel free to send me a message or comment below and I will include it in this list.


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