Lorival Smolski Chapuis
5 min read   Nov 1, 2018 english tips Culture

How to improve your English from scratch saving your money

The English language is fundamental to every technology professional. How to start developing this skill saving money?

According to a well-known Brazilian magazine only 5% of Brazilians are fluent in Englishs, it’s incredible how many English schools there are in Brazil and so few fluent people, not to mention that 65% of them say they do not study because it is expensive.

I’m not fluent in English, so I’m not part of these 5%, but I’d like like to share some study tips that I used or I use today to continue improving my English without necessarily going to a regular school.

There are several different forms of learning, but you only learn something consistently if you are immersed in the content you want to learn. Most of my tips follow this principle, how much more immersed and getting information from different backgrounds and forms, easier it becomes to consolidate knowledge.

These tips worked for me and may not work in the same way for you. My suggestion? Try it and comment if it helped. 😎

Tip 1) Change everything you read everyday to English

Start by changing the language of your phone to English, add a keyboard in English and your native language, in this way your spell checker will be work in both languages.

Change the language of your computer and all the programs you use in it too.

Cost: $ 0.00

Tip 2) Watch short, practical and useful tips in English every day

A good point for the audience on Youtube, is to create a lot of short videos instead of a few long movies. Let’s take advantage of this in our favor, try to see some videos from this channels to learn English from Portuguese:

  • SmallAdvantages: Gavin Roy is from Colorado (US), he is a doctorate in atmospheric science, today his passion is teach English to Youtube
  • English in Brazil by Carina Fragozo: Carina Frugalzo is Brazilian, with a degree in languages, a PhD in Linguistics and an English teacher for over 13 years
  • Tim Explica: Tim Cunningham is from New York, learned Portuguese with Brazilian friends in 6 months and today teaches English on the internet
  • Amigo Gringo: Seth Kugel is a journalist from New York, wrote for the New York Times, and teach various tips on American language and culture

Cost: $ 0.00 (there’s your internet, I know, but you already pay for it. 🔥)

Tip 3) Follow an English course program

A simple way is to use two cost-effective tools that have different techniques that complement each other.

  • Babbel: It focuses more on spelling, teaches through dialogues and creates a vocabulary that can be revised daily in a systematic way. One cool point is that he focuses is on British English, but with a lot of American tips. It is worth doing the 6-month subscription that costs around $ 8.00 per month.
  • Duolingo: It has a dynamic way of teaching the basics and reinforcing it in a more gamified way than Babbel. It is not time-consuming to reach the end of the tree, the focus is to maintain a daily reinforcement routine. A nice tip is to make the tree YourLanguage-English and then English-YourLanguage. It has no cost, just use. 🤘

Tip: Use the web version instead of the app.

Cost: $ 8.00 per month in 6-month subscription.

Tip 4) Exercise your ears whenever possible

The 3 ways that I like to do this are:

  • Watching Simpsons and Family Guy in English with English subtitles. Choose the series that you like, which has a more everyday language, apply the caption in English and relax while you learn. An episode lasts 20 min, impossible to complete one without learning anything new. For this, you can use Youtube, Netflix (if you already subscribe) or Stremio.

  • The Babbel app (this is the part I use in the app), allows you to download offline vocabularies you have already learned and listen to whenever you want. I usually put to listen while I go to work in the morning with a fresh head.

  • I choose a song, I listen to it several times, I read the lyrics together and I try to sing … LOL … it’s a fun way to learn and exercise my listening.

Cost: $ 0.00

Tip 5) Exercise your writing a lot

Choose a theme that you like and try to explore everything in English, it could write a part of what happened in the day, what you would like to do at the weekend, what you learned in English or create a technology blog and make an English version, like this one. 😆

Cost: $ 0.00 (this blog is hosted on Github, it has no cost)

Tip 6) Speak always that possible

This may be a more difficult part, but it also has a solution.

Has an app called HelloTalk that you say what your native language and what language do you like to learn and find people whose native language is the one you want to learn and who want to learn your native language … and for free … it’s very cool!

Cost: $ 0.00


It is very difficult to become fluent in English living in a country that don’t speak English, but if you set up a schedule with at least 60 minutes a day of study, mixing these tips and tools, it will definitely make a difference in the first month.

Choose an online course in your area that is in English, so you focus on the technical part, practice English and learn something new for your day-to-day. If you like games, look for one that has a cool storyline and tries to play it all in English, it’s pretty challenging. I’ll post a list of cool games to learn English.

For those who work with IT, you know that English is fundamental, but in practice, we use the google translator and following the life.

Don’t be one of the people who said they did not study English because they did not have time. Create your way of studying, play games, listen to podcasts, you know … make your time and make it count! 👊

Lorival S. Chapuis
Written by:

Lorival S. Chapuis

Software engineer focused on scalability, sometimes a gamer, computer intelligence enthusiast, and passionate about my family and software development.