Using music, movies and TV shows to practice English skills is always a great idea, as you can mix learning and entertainment together. In self-isolation times – or even when you just don’t feel like going out –, you can always count with streaming services to help you boost your language learning while watching something fun.
In this blog post, we will recommend 5 awesome series that are available on Nexflix, as well as some tips to take the most from it.
Never Have I Ever
This 10-episode teenage comedy follows the life of Devi Vishwakumar (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan), a 15 years-old Indian American, who after a very rough year tries to become popular at her High School. Light and fun, this series is perfect for those looking to have a good laugh. As the plot sets in California, most of the actors in Never Have I Ever are native-speaking Americans, but the scenes involving Devi’s Indian family not only give viewers a little perspective of this country’s culture but also an opportunity to improve their listening skills by getting used to different accents.
Explained is a great call for those who like documentary series. Every episode delves into a particular topic, going from K-pop to eSports, in a cool and didactic way. It’s everything but boring! It also helps that episodes are short and sweet, ranging from 15 to 25 minutes. In addition to getting to know more about the subject of the episode, watching Explained it’s a great opportunity to be exposed by a variety of English accents, as the series has many different narrators. Some of them are pretty famous, such as Kristen Bell, Rachel McAdams and Carly Rae Jepsen. Explained has two seasons and two spin offs, so there’s a lot to catch up on if you have never watched it!
Even though a big part of Hollywood’s series and movies are filmed in Canada, not all of them portrait the True North culture. If you plan to study in Canada and want to see more about the country, give Shitt’s Creek a try. This Canadian sitcom follows the Rose family, who is forced to move to small town after losing its fortune and now have to adjust to a new life without money. The series has five seasons and came to a wrap in early 2020, causing a big commotion in Canada.
Are you a fan of reality shows? Do you like to travel? Do you want to see more of the beauties of Australia? Then Instant Hotel is the best option for you! In this competition, AirBnB owners battle each other to see who has the best accommodation in the land of the kangaroos. Expect to see lots of drama, deception and strategy, as participants stay for a night in their competitor’s houses to evaluate features like comfort, location and activities. The series is great for those who are planning to study in Australia and want to see more about different areas of the country, in addition to get used to the Aussie accent.
Released before social distancing was a thing, The Circle is a reality show that now seems even closer to reality. Confined in small apartments with no access to the external world, participants can only interact with each other via text in a social media platform. This means that they can be themselves or anyone they want! The goal is to become the most popular person in the game by connecting with people and making alliances. Fun, light and full of twists, The Circle is one of those shows that gets you hooked, as every episode ends with a cliffhanger. Great for binge-watch!
Tips to enhance your learning
Now that you have some options and before diving into the sea of other shows available on Netflix – or any other streaming service you like –, there are a few things you can do to maximize your English learning while watching series online. Check out below three simple tips that will not only improve your skills but also make it more fun.
- Control the captions: To think of watching a series with no captions on can be daunting, but try to see this as a good opportunity to improve your listening skills. At first, you might not understand all words that come out of the character’s mouth, but depending on your English level, you will be able to get what they are saying by the context, just like in real life! If you are still not confident, you can start by watching something you have seen before, like your favorite show, with captions in English. This will allow you to match the words with the speech and also improve your grammar skills by being exposed to sentence constructions and verb conjugation.
- Do your research: We know that you are always taking a peek on instagram while you are watching something, so why not take notes on your phone of words you’ve heard that you don’t know the meaning? You can look them up later to increase your vocabulary and learn new idiomatic expressions. You may also take these notes to your ILSC teacher, who will be happy to help you understand what it means.
- Share your knowledge: Sometimes we love a series so much that we want the whole world to watch it as well just so we chat about it. So why not put your digital influencer skills to test and write up some summaries of the show you’ve just watched to share it with your ILSC classmates? If you are feeling extra motivated, you can also record some video reviews in English to post it on Instagram stories, Snapchat or TikTok. Spoiler alert: maybe you are the next internet star in the making!
- Make it an online party: Use technology on your favor and throw an online watch party with your ILSC classmates! There are some apps who can help you with that, such as Netflix Party. You will be able to not only watch the show at the same time, but also comment it and have fun together. A great way to strengthen your bond with your international friends!
These are some tips to make the most out your free time at home. Now it’s your turn. Have you watched any of these shows? Do you have any other suggestions? Make sure to comment below which shows you are watching now!
And if you want to learn English from home and connect with people from all over the world, check out ILSC’s online programs.