I have good news: you don’t need to study English to learn English… you just need to do the things you love!
Sounds too easy, right? Well, have you thought about combining English with one of your hobbies?
I remember one student who was with us for 6 months. She really enjoyed crafts and making things, and wanted a way to practise her English outside class, and also meet new people. Her solution was to find a local paper-crafts group online, and go along to one of their weekly meet-ups. She had a great time, making things and sharing ideas with the group, and started to go regularly.
Another student was really into mountain biking; he even brought his bike with him! Edinburgh has a few MTB clubs, and he joined one for a ride one Sunday. When he came to school on Monday morning, he said (with a huge smile on his face), ‘That was the hardest biking I’ve ever done!’ Apparently, he was used to taking ski lifts to the top, rather than riding up the mountain, like we do in Scotland!
We’ve had students who have gone out with local running groups in Edinburgh, others who have joined a Sunday social hike in the hills, and even one who followed his English course with an organised sailing trip around Scotland!
Our new English With Yoga and Wellness course combines language lessons with sessions designed to help with managing stress and finding balance in our lives.
I went along to see how it worked, and was really impressed by how well everyone was able to speak and express themselves in a new context. Everything was in English, and the students said how much they enjoyed being able to take their English into a different area of their lives.
Obviously, it’s easy to do your hobbies in English if you’re in the UK, but what about when you go home?
Check online for English groups in your area;
if you’re near a city or large town, you might find there’s already a club doing activities together. If there isn’t one, and you’re feeling ambitious, you could start one yourself, perhaps with work colleagues.
Another option is to do your hobby on your own as usual, but add aspects of English to it.
If you’re running, how about a podcast to accompany you? If you’re into making things, look up ‘How To’ videos in English on YouTube, subscribe to a digital magazine on the subject, or see if there’s an online community you can talk to.
Or for the full experience, sign up for a trip to the UK to join an activity group;
there are all kinds of things on offer, from kayaking to yoga retreats to long-distance walks.
In the meantime, come and spend some time with us at ECS Scotland.
We have a growing number of English courses involving activities - and if we don’t have the one you want, you can always request it!
Senior Teacher @ ECS Scotland