If there’s one thing students like, it’s free stuff! And if you’re studying (or planning on studying) in an English-speaking country and you’re not from one yourself, no doubt you’ll want to brush up on your language skills every once in a while.
If you do want to improve your English language skills in a quick and easy way, then YouTube is your friend.
Not only are the videos free, informative and easy to access, they are also often pretty fun, too.
You improve your pronunciation by hearing how words are really said by real people – and not just the Google Translate bot! The videos also improve your listening skills and understanding of how people talk and interact, something you can’t authentically grasp from the pages of a textbook.
Most videos are pretty short as well, letting you learn in a bite-size way, taking on little bits of information, breaking things down and allowing the information to sink in more effectively, making it easier to recall.
There are literally thousands of helpful YouTube channels out there for you to discover but here are five of our favourites to get you started…
English Class 101 is one of the most popular English language learning channels on YouTube with over 1.4 million subscribers, catering to learners of all levels.
The channel claims it will have you speaking the language “in minutes” as it’s “the fastest, easiest and most fun way to learn English.”
With lessons on speaking, reading and writing, the channel literally has everything you need in one place.
If it’s pronunciation you tend to struggle with then Rachel has your back!
A trained classical singer, Rachel is a pro at helping students modify the way they move their mouth and tongue to pronounce words and sounds they are unfamiliar with.
Focusing specifically on American English, if you’re off to study in the US or Canada and are struggling with the accent or any part of pronunciation, this is the channel for you!
‘Mister Duncan’ puts his heart and soul into his videos – and his charming demeanour and brilliant sense of humour is infectious. He’ll have you smiling and speaking your very best English in no time.
Duncan’s videos tend to be quite long, lasting anywhere between a few minutes up to the 2-hour mark! The channel even does live videos which students can tune into and ask questions – all for free.
4. Easy English
This channel is perfect if you want to understand how people in the UK really talk to each other. Easy English is a part of the channel Easy Languages, where people on the streets chat to interviewers so students can hear how people really interact in a number of countries and languages.
In Easy English, interviews are conducted with people on the UK’s streets about all manner of different topics.
The videos are usually between 3 and 5 minutes long and give you a real taste of how the English language is spoken in practice, not just in the classroom.
Fancy something with more of a focus on the US? The lessons from Voice of America (VOA) are varied from everyday grammar to idioms, ‘English in a minute’ lessons which do what they say on the tin and lessons on words used commonly in the news.
Some are even set up like a news report on the television, however, there’s a twist! The ‘news reporters’ are actually professional English teachers who present the ‘news’ in simple language, slightly slower than the breakneck-speed way the news is usually read and with subtitles available to help you follow.
Many of the videos are also role play many basic situations for new English-speakers.
BONUS: for business graduates – Business English Pod
We’re adding a bonus one here for students approaching graduation and hoping to make it big in the business world.
Business English Pod is designed for students who need to understand how the English language functions in the workplace, particularly in a business-orientated role.
Colloquial English used among friends can be a little different from what’s expected in a business environment and can be a little hard to practice without actually being in the environment.
The channel has a large number of videos teaching you the vocabulary you may need and examples of what to say in all sorts of situations you may find yourself in at work. Handy, right?