About Apoven

Welcome to Apoven!

Are you ready to improve your English?

Are you serious about improving your English?

Are you dedicated?

If you truly want to improve your English, Apoven is here to help you!

If you are looking for a way to improve your English, you have come to the right place!

Are you afraid to speak English?

Are you worried about making mistakes?

Do you lack confidence?

Are you worried about being judged?

If not, fantastic! You are more than 50% of the way to becoming a fluent English speaker!

If you answered yes to any of those questions, you probably have very little English speaking practice. Am I right?

People who are afraid of making mistakes usually prefer to listen. That’s fine! For now. However, at some point, if you really want to improve your English speaking ability, you are going to have to be brave and start speaking. Surprise! Yes, you actually need a lot of practice to improve you speaking ability.

Anyone who plays a sport or a musical instrument can easily understand this. Your ability to use your instrument well, whether it is your body, your violin, or your voice, will only improve by practice, practice, and more practice. There is nothing to be afraid of. Mistakes are natural.

You will absolutely, 100% make mistakes. That is guaranteed.

Mistakes are a necessary part of the learning process. Embrace them. It is also guaranteed that you will not become a better speaker if you don’t embrace the learning process and start speaking, little by little.

If followed, the methods I teach are effective and you will build your English fluency little by little.

You have my support on your English language journey. You are not alone!

I’m here to help you:

While the Virtual Online Textbook page and posts are written for the university courses I teach, everyone is welcome to read or share them.

If there is anything you’d like me to write about, teach or explain, contact me via the comment section below or follow me on Facebook and send me a message with a request. I’ll do my best to answer any questions you have!

Apoven was created for students. It is a resource for students. It is a place students can come to review, preview or read something new :). It can also be used as a resource for English language teachers and anyone interested in Korean language and culture, which I also enjoy writing about.

Everyone is welcome here. Beginners, try out the listening resources and be sure to watch Emma’s video.

My goal is to give students the tools they need to become better communicators. These tools include insights into cultural differences, language tips, sample conversations, and much more!

If you don’t find what you’re looking for, leave me a comment below, connect with me on my Facebook page or send me a message.

Ready to get started but have no one to speak to?

Check out this video on learning how to think in English. Follow Emma’s advice to stop translating (“buffering”) and start thinking in English. By practicing a little each day, you’ll increase both your vocabulary recall and your ability to speak more fluently. You can also practice speaking English with Siri.

Who’s behind this website?

Apoven Doll

Trey Treeful Cartoon Drawing

Hey! That’s me! I mean…sort of ;). I have been teaching English to students from all over the world since 2006. I have an M.Ed. in Education and Teaching English as a Second Language, a B.A. (English and Education major focusing on English Literature and English language learners), a Massachusetts Educator’s License in English Secondary Education, and a TEFL Certificate.

I began my career teaching in the United States. The last place I worked in the U.S. was The New England School of English, a highly respected award-winning school located in Harvard Square.

For the past 8 years, I have been teaching university students in Seoul, South Korea. Every semester, I enjoy helping students become comfortable speaking English by giving them the tools they need to understand English and start speaking English more confidently. The very first tool is learning and using practical English. By using just 3 or 4 practical English questions, students can communicate in English right from the start!

About English:

If you’ve studied mostly grammar and vocabulary up until now, you may not have a lot of practice having conversations in English.

The most important thing to try to overcome is your fear and worry about being judged or making a mistake.

If you cannot be brave, you will not improve your English speaking skills. Like anything, improving your English speaking skills takes A LOT of practice and a lot of motivation.

I’ll give you all the insider secrets of the language and tips to help you, but if you don’t practice, you won’t improve.

It’s important to start practicing thinking in English if you want to be better at speaking in English. Don’t forget to check out Emma’s video about how to think in English on the Resources page. She’ll guide you step-by-step.

What does Apoven mean?

Apoven stands for Applied Overseas English.

Why these three words?


Studying English without applying it is ineffective. Languages are alive. They are meant to be used for communication.

Like learning to play a musical instrument, only reading or learning about English, without actually using it, will only take you so far.

While communication includes speaking, listening, reading, and writing, not all forms of these are communication. For example, reading about grammar and completing grammar exercises is not communication. Talking about grammar with another person is communication. It is more effective to learn to communicate by actually communicating than by studying grammar. Sure, you might pass a test after many hours of studying, but tests such as the TOEIC are not always accurate measures of real speaking ability. A high TOEIC score does not guarantee that you are a fluent speaker. A high TOEIC score may just show that you have hacked the TOEIC.

I know many students who have taken the TOEIC and gotten a score of around 800 but still can’t communicate fluently or accurately in English. Learning a language is about much more than memorizing a list of words and taking tests. Tests are an external form of motivation that do not guarantee long-term learning or acquisition.

Real success takes internal motivation and the application of the vocabulary and skills you learn. It takes practice.

Through practical application of what has been learned, you can become more fluent and accurate.


I have lived overseas for about 8 years. English has been my main source of communication both in Korea and in the 48 countries I have traveled to. Many people use English when traveling overseas. This site combines my love of travel and my love of teaching English to provide learners all around the globe with English tips, tools, and input.

Whether working or traveling overseas, English is a great tool to have in your pocket. Overseas travel also exposes us to different cultures. Language is more than just grammar and vocabulary. Language is culture. It’s important to learn not only the language of a place, but also the communication style and norms. I write about Korea and the United States (my two cultural influences) and how cultural differences affect language and create different styles of communication.

I have also participated in the WordPress weekly photo challenges where I was posting and writing about one photo from my travels each week. The first two are Seoul (Lines) and Florence (Unlikely). Sadly, this weekly photo challenge no longer exists.


This website is all about English!

3 Pro Tips:

1. Get daily input that you enjoy.

Don’t worry about not being able to speak when you are a beginner. It takes time.

The first step is input. You need to put some English in before you can put it out. It’s important to find interesting and easy things to read and listen to. Little by little, your vocabulary and comprehension will grow. Little by little, you can start to understand more. Little by little, you can start to speak. Some recommended sources of input can be found on my resource page.

One of the best ways to improve your English vocabulary and grammar is not by studying more but by getting more input in a natural way.

2. Don’t focus on or worry about your grammar when you are having a conversation.

There is a time and place for grammar work, but it’s not during conversations.

3. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes!

You are going to make a lot of mistakes! It’s totally okay and normal. Were you perfect the first time you played your favorite video game? Of course not! You practiced and you got better. Speaking English is like playing a game. Hang in there! You can do it!

I’m here to give you unlimited ammo, but it’s up to you to use it! If you focus on being perfect, you won’t be able to have a conversation.

Remember: Communication is the most important thing. Mistakes are not important, understanding is. Mistakes are great learning opportunities!

“I want to be fluent.”

Of course we all want to speak well, but that is a different type of practice. It is a separate activity from having a conversation. If you have the opportunity to have a conversation in English, focus on your ideas first. Focus on the person you are speaking with. Ask them questions. Be a good listener. Find the gaps and fill them.

Let me know if you have any questions or would like to request a post. If there is any way I can help you on your English journey, feel free to leave a comment!

Welcome to the Apoven community!

Settle in. Stay awhile. Continue your journey by understanding 3 ways to start making sense of English.

Help support Apoven and other English learners by liking, sharing, tweeting, or pinning! 😊

Thanks for stopping by!

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