Many English-speaking countries such as Australia, the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom serve as hot schooling destinations for students worldwide. For example, 914,095 international students were enrolled in US tertiary institutions as of 2021. This is more than 4% of the total student population in America. There are similar statistics for other top English-speaking countries.
Many international students seeking Canada, the US, Australia, or UK immigration advice do not speak English as their first language. These prospective students are often encouraged to master the language first. Hence, they resort to different approaches to hone their English proficiency. Many of these methods, however, are either too expensive or just not practical.
If you belong to this group, there’s good news for you. Apps are now being developed to help international students seeking to learn English. Here are the best of them;
If you want to improve your English vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, or listening skills, Duolingo is your go-to app. Currently, about 10 million people worldwide use the app daily out of a total of over 500 million registered users. This ranks the app as the leading global language learning app.
Duolingo’s game-like features and attributes make learning fun and interactive. Its innovative approach utilizes short, structured lessons covering different aspects of the language. Its reward- and penalty-based learning approach also makes it unique.
For example, you earn points when you learn, and users are ranked on a weekly leaderboard based on the number of points earned. Depending on your league position at the end of the week, you get promoted to a new superior league, get demoted to a lower league, or remain in that league for another week.
The app teaches English at a rudimentary level, and newbies to the English language can use it. Besides, the service offers the internationally-recognized Duo English Test. This certification is a far cheaper alternative to IELTS and TOEFL. Non-native speakers of the English language seeking to apply for ILR in the UK for employment and academic purposes can make use of it.
English language courses are available for speakers of 14 languages, including Spanish, French, German, and Portuguese. Each of these English courses is designed uniquely to meet the peculiar needs of each native language. Hence, the English language course for French speakers is not the same as that for Portuguese speakers, and the course for Spanish speakers differs from the one for German speakers.
Generally, Babbel approaches teaching in a way similar to Duo – structured, repetitive lessons in the form of grammar, pronunciation, and spelling exercises. Podcasts and live tutoring are also available for speakers of some languages. The main difference is that Babbel is more intensive; it is more suited to learners who have had prior exposure to the English language.
FluentU is another immersive learning platform that employs different types of real-life videos and audio to keep you engaged. This multimedia contains music, ads, movie clips, and interviews.
The real-time transcription and subtitles embedded in these audiovisuals will enable you to grasp and pick out new words seamlessly. You can then add it to your personalized flashcard. Additionally, you can also download these transcripts and go over them later.
Other exciting features of this app include regular quizzes after every lesson and a vocabulary tracker. You can also set a daily target and learn at your own pace.
On the flip side, there is little or no room for speaking or writing on FluentU. This makes the app ideal for learners who already have some degree of exposure to the English language and are only looking to learn more about grammar, improve their listening skills, and expand their English vocabulary.
Like Duolingo and Babbel, Memrise is a gamified language learning app that incorporates spaced repetition to improve learners’ memorization ability.
This highly engaging app provides video clips and audio recordings of native English speakers discussing real-life events. Apart from listening, there are also exercises on pronunciation, spelling, and vocabulary. There is an emphasis on vocabulary. The spaced repetition helps the learner to pick up and retain as many words as possible – with words you don’t remember easily showing up more often than those you know.
With this app, you can set daily learning targets, essentially allowing you to regulate the pace at which you study.
In combination with other methods, such as taking physical language courses and regular interaction with native speakers of the language, the language apps listed above serve as excellent secondary tools for improving your English.