When I firstly moved to London, I could barely speak a hundred words of English. Yes, I was that bad. However, from my personal experience, I truly believe that, with the correct approach, a lot of determination and practice, anyone can master a foreign language in as little as three months.
I believe that the current school system (in Italy at least) doesn't provide the right tools for learning a language, but only the basics. Schools help to build the knowledge of a new language through a methodical method which is mainly focused on its grammar and a defined vocabulary. However, fluency comes from speaking and practicing. And while it's great to be able to write and read a new language, what allows us to really get into it is using it!
How to learn English in 3 Months:
Here are some of my best tips for learning English (or any other language) in three months:
- Speak the language out loud right from the start
Don't be afraid of making mistakes, you will. And don't be embarrassed, if you are attending a class, the rest of the people are going to be speaking like you. The most important thing is that you practice immediately.
- Forget about grammar
This is probably the most important rule of this guide and what really sped up my learning curve. I was trying too hard to remember all the rules but instead I wasn't progressing much. Remember: grammar can be fixed later.
- Hire a native speaker.
One of best decisions in my life was to hire a private tutor. C and I would spend Saturday mornings speaking about politics, the environment, travels and reading newspapers (I would read out loud). This was probably the one thing really helped me to learn expressions you can't find in books and master British pronunciation up to an IELTS' band 9 (yeah, let me brag about it!).
- Listen to local podcasts and radio stations.
Another essential thing to learn a new language is to really immerse yourself in it. Literally. For example, if you live in Lisbon, you should tune to Portuguese radio station at all time. Or if you've just moved to Paris, make sure to favourite a few French podcasts like the one below.
- Practice. Practice. Practice.
I believe that people who are willing to study a foreign language could reach a B2 level in just three months. However, depending on how much and how often you will practice, this could be achieved in a year or even two.
- Forget about perfection.
Finally, When I was a beginner, I was trying to speak and write perfectly. Obviously, there is no beginner who can do that, why call them beginner otherwise? But focusing on perfection is very dangerous as you'll get discouraged very quickly and possibly give up before you see any improvements. Like anything else in life, focus on realistic goals at the start and then slowly raise your bar a bit higher.