Students often ask me what the best way to learn English is. Most students have limited time and money to devote to English study, so in most cases, I typically recommended using podcasts and movies as a good solution. But for learners who have more time and money available, my recommendation is quite different. Language is, after all, an interactive activity and no matter how many movies you watch or how many podcasts you listen to, you would still be missing out on a key ingredient to learning a language -- interaction.
What then should a highly motivated, active learner, who has the time and financial resources to devote themselves to learning English full-time do? My best advice, in such cases, is for the learner to simply go to an English speaking country and find a situation where English use is a vital necessity for daily survival and interaction. I would especially recommend avoiding a place where there are other Japanese speakers around, so that they avoid the temptation to spend most of their time speaking Japanese. With a real need to communicate driving ones learning, with an all-English environment, and with constant interaction with native speakers, learning comes quickly if not painlessly. The core of my advice is to immerse yourself in an English environment and find whatever means you can to do these three things: interact, interact, interact.
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