Knowing a second language opens a world of cultures, travel, career opportunities, and new friendships. However, learning a foreign language as a student can be difficult. College life presents an array of unique challenges to anyone looking to become fluent in a new language. In this post, we offer four tips for students to help them in their language learning journey.
1) Use the language doing what you love
Don’t limit your use of the language to the classroom and homework assignments. Find ways to incorporate the language into your hobbies and pastimes. Do you love movies? Try watching movies in your target language, listening for familiar words and phrases. Are you a music lover? Dive into the historical and the modern music of countries that speak the language you’re studying. Even video games can help you learn a foreign language. Many online games offer different audio and visual options, allowing you to play through a game using a different language. Doing these everyday fun activities while using a foreign language will go a long way to improving your proficiency.
2) Don’t limit yourself to classroom resources
Whatever language you are learning, there are bound to be some helpful resources on the web. You can find native media and entertainment, youtube lessons, free courses, language learning blogs like LiveFluent. You’re also free to connect with native speakers from around the world, many of whom are learning English. What better way to enhance your learning than having a language exchange with someone who speaks the language you’re learning?
3) Channel your motivation
Why are you learning a new language? Is it simply to check off an elective? Are you attracted to the cultural and history behind the language? Do you want to travel? Maybe you want to improve your communication with a friend or loved one. If you’re learning a language to get through your course requirements that’s one thing. But learning a language because you want to learn it will open a world and possibilities for you. When you have a clear and motivating reason for learning, it will help you to focus on the aspects of the language you need the most.
4) Focus on communication
When speaking a foreign language the most crucial thing is to be understood by the person you’re talking to, and at the sametime understand them. Whether or not your grammar is flawless or you resort to a hand gesture or too, isn’t as important. It’s easy to be so focused on whether or not what you want to say will be correct or not, that you chicken out and don’t do anything. The road to fluency is paved with mistakes. Rather than look at mistakes as a bad thing, think of them as a genuine sign that you are progressing through the language.
Language learning isn’t easy, but with a little patience and the right mindset you’re bound to see your skills improve. Use these tips to help you reach fluency and open the gateway to all the benefits of knowing a foreign language.