In English as a Second Language, Learn English, Netflix Shows to Learn English

The Best Netflix Shows for Learning English

If you’ve been around us at Excel English Institute for any amount of time, you’ll know that we are very, very serious about helping other people learn English. We believe learning a new language is the key to unlocking new potential, life experiences, and opportunities! Of course, it takes a lot of dedication and hard work to study English. When you think of “learning English” you might think of sitting in a classroom like the ones we have here at the institute, studying vocabulary, taking exams, and lots and lots of reading and writing.

Yes, the traditional route to learning English is full of the traditional learning elements (flashcards still work!) However, there are so many aspects of learning a language that simply cannot be taught in a classroom. We encourage ALL of our students to get out in the real world and practice using their developing language skills in real-life situations. The only way to really learn a language is to just…. DO IT! Take all those vocabulary lessons, conversation tools, and everything you’ve learned in the classroom and put it to work.

For many new English speakers, it may feel extremely overwhelming to just walk into a restaurant or coffee shop and have to, well, SPEAK English!

If you’re not ready for a public situation, consider practicing your English skills in the safety of your own home or room at first. You probably love watching your favorite shows on Netflix. Well, let’s use that love of Netflix to learn and practice English!

Tips for Learning English on Netflix

Watching Netflix to learn a language isn’t exactly like watching Netflix to just hang out and relax. You have to be careful to listen and pay attention to subtle context cues like emotions, facial expressions, and other nonverbal communication. You do have to put a bit of effort into it, but it’ll be fun while you’re doing it! If you’re going to watch Netflix with the intent to improve your language skills, use these three tips:

  1. Take the time to pause the show. Look up words you’re uncertain about and repeat them.
  2. Use subtitles. In fact, you can even see subtitles in both your target and native language. Download a free Google Chrome extension called Language Learning with Netflix so you can get that side-by-side translation in both your native language and English. Of course, this will only be available if you’re watching in a browser.
  3. Change your language preferences on Netflix to English. This will push you to view all the categories, messages, and navigate all of Netflix in English!

Our Favorite Netflix Shows for Learning English

The Best Netflix Shows to Learn English: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

This is a feel-good, hilarious comedy. If you want to laugh and get a lot of English pop-culture in one show, this is it. Kimmy Schmidt escaped from an underground bunker and now lives in New York City with an eccentric roommate.

The Best Netflix Shows to Learn English - Suits


Want to work in an American office someday soon? This show could help you with English used in an office environment. The show is a legal drama set in New York City with a tough boss who will do whatever it takes to win and a group of employees desperate to please him. This one might be a challenge for beginners, but one worth taking!

The Best Netflix Shows to Learn English - Big Bang Theory

The Big Bang Theory

This show is a perfect option for English leaners of all levels. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to catch on to pop-culture references, informal English, and everyday conversation. You’ll follow the story of four nerdy scientist friends and all their mishaps, even as intellectually advanced as they are.

The Best Netflix Shows to Learn English - The Great British Bake Off

The Great British Bake Off

Not a sitcom kinda person? Then check out The Great British Bake Off, a baking competition show (with British accents!) Unlike other fast-paced cooking competitions, this show takes a bit of a more relaxed pace and delves into the everyday lives of contestants. You’ll be able to pick up all kinds of English phrases to use in conversation with this one.

The Best Netflix Shows to Learn English - Grey's Anatomy

Grey’s Anatomy

Love a good medical drama? Thinking of going into the medical field in an American hospital or doctor’s office? This show would be a good pick for you with a combination of personal relationships and medical terms.

The Best Netflix Shows to Learn English - Black Mirror

Black Mirror

If sci-fi is more of your thing, check out Black Mirror. The series explores a deeper plot examining society and technology intertwined and featuring things like social media, drones, and Artificial Intelligence. While the subject matter can be a little heavier, the language is accessible for any level of English learner.

Those are just a handful of our favorites, but the truth is, you could watch almost any Netflix series in English and gain something! Now, this isn’t an excuse not to do your homework. Study hard, develop good habits, practice hard, and use a little bit of Netflix to help you get the most out of studying English.

What’s your favorite Netflix show to watch in English that we should add to our list?

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