You often hear about people who know a remarkable number of foreign languages and you may wonder how they manage, when you’re still struggling with just one. Don’t worry, they don’t have super powers. They just have a few tricks up their sleeve 7 of which we will share with you below.
1. Travel the world
This might not be as easy as it sounds, but this is exactly why you should start with travel. You may have had the chance to visit other countries, but were simply a tourist or seeking a deeper experience? What’s the difference, you might ask? A tourist will travel to visit the top places in a guidebook, to see places, and to be an observer. A real traveler will travel to experience, to feel their environment, to interact with local people. To be a real traveler, the best way to truly understand another culture is to learn the language. By learning the language, you will have more insight into their culture and traditions, be able to make real connections with people, and understand and embrace differences. Pro tip: Xploreo offers affordable ways to travel and learn a language directly from locals, so a trip abroad might be more attainable than you think! You can start with learning the most common words and expressions and then take it to the next level with the following steps.
2. Make new friends
Now that you have shed the skin of the tourist and become a true traveler, you are more than ready to make friends in your adventures. So take advantage, and start talking. Try to connect with your host or go to open social gatherings, cafes or clubs. Of course you’ll make plenty of mistakes, but you will get the hang of it and it will become easier the more you practice. Even after leaving your newly made friends, make sure you keep in touch with them and continue chatting on social platforms, this way you will improve both your pronunciation, and your writing skills. When you spice things up with a date, your road to mastering a new language becomes even smoother.
3. Private tutoring ftw!
Traditional language courses no longer seem to fit in today’s world when we’re in a constant hurry and want to maximize productivity. When it comes to language learning, you need lessons tailored to your needs and one-on-one tutoring is by far the best option as it’s also the fastest. Find a native speaker to teach you, so you can enjoy both a personalized and original experience. Maybe there’s a helpful tutor among your new friends. One-on-one classes are not as rigid as group classes and completely personalized to your language level and learning goals. You can get together wherever you feel most comfortable, whether that is in your home, the library or a café.
4. Become one with the language
Make sure your target language is present in every aspect of your life. You have to hear it, read it, speak it. If practicing the language begins to feel like a chore (which it will), make sure you do your best to make it as fun for you as possible. Watch movies- like Spanish telenovelas or Japanese manga- in the language you’re learning. It will help you improve your comprehension. Look online for radio stations from that country, or find TV news channels. You can learn new words and keep up with what’s going on in certain countries. If you’re still a beginner and not ready to read a book, there are still endless ways to practice. Change all of your electronic devices to operate in the target language. It may take a bit longer to make a phone call at first, but taking learning the language from optional practice to just a part of your life will go a long way.
5. Make a dictionary your bestie
When learning a new language, it’s good to always have a dictionary with you. Although we live in a technological world, when thinking about dictionaries, we still picture big, heavy, dusty volumes in an old library. However, we now have access to countless digital resources and some of the most helpful are mobile dictionary apps. There are many apps you can download on your phone to have with you on the go, which you can use both online and offline. Google recently released a new translator across 120 languages (!), or you can download one that is specific to target language.
6. Go a little crazy and talk to yourself
If your foreign friends are not available and there are still a few days left until your one-on-one tutoring lesson, who better to have a conversation with than your esteemed self? Experts recommend recording yourself speaking at least once a month as you progress. It will feel pretty good when you return to the recording a few months earlier, and hear all of the progress you have made! You’ll find that talking to yourself in the new language is much easier than talking to others. You can try out different accents and intonations and have fun combining word patterns you are learning into sentences. The mirror could become your confidant.
7. Practice makes perfect
You’ve probably heard or read about learning a new language in an incredibly fast amount of time. Some claim to gain conversational fluency in a matter of hours or weeks rather than years? Is that farfetched? Not at all. In fact, if you practice every day, you can accomplish fluency in a foreign language much faster than you may think. However it will not just spontaneously happen without focus, determination, and perseverance.
First, we all lead busy lives, but if learning a language is a priority for you, then make time. Find 10 minutes here and there, if you can’t do a full hour of practice. Take that time to learn 5 new words, listen to a podcast or a song, or watch an episode of a TV series. Never skip your practice! For those 10 to 60 minutes, focus on this and nothing else. Set a goal for consistent daily practice, and stay focused on attaining it. You can motivate yourself with something you like eating ice cream after a session of grammar or buying yourself something nice. Whatever you do, don’t give up! If you make learning the language a fun, non-optional part of your daily routine, you will see the rewards soon and be at polyglot status in no time!
Ready to take off and learn a language? Xploreo offers affordable ways for you to learn a language, and immerse yourself in a culture and language so you can learn a language and really get to know a culture from the inside faster!