In university, most courses require studying a foreign language. This has many benefits and the choice you make could help you in your career, to expand your mind, and to connect even better with family and friends who have a different primary language than your own. Learning a new language is the gateway to learning about a new culture and can open your eyes to doing so in a whole other way.
Here are a few ways you can master a foreign language outside the classroom:
Remember why you want to learn a particular language
To master a foreign language, the most important thing to do is remember why you want to learn it. What is the driving motivator? If it’s just so you can simply add a skill, chances are you won’t be as determined to keep up with the practicing. However, if you, for example, want to learn a language for work or so you can better understand someone in his or her first language as well as their culture better, these can be a constant source of motivation to learn a language.
Speak with mother tongues
As you interact and speak with other people in a new language, put yourself in situations where you are with mother tongues. That way you can listen to pronunciation, pick up new phrases and just speak.
Use apps to practice and learn every day
Nowadays there are many websites like Babbel that make learning a foreign language easy and fun. You can use them to keep up with your language skills even when on the go, as they are a great way to practice at least a little each day, anywhere, anytime.
Watch television, with audio and subtitles in the language you want to learn
As you learn a new language, it’s important to listen first, and then the speaking will come. Watching television is a great way to listen and become familiar with a language, while also listening to something you enjoy and that is relevant to your interests.
Do you have a favourite movie that you know every word to? Try watching it the language you want to learn, both audio and with subtitles so you are familiar with the content already. Otherwise, try watching television that matches your language level. So yes, that means that children’s movies are a great starting point for the early stages of your learning process!
Read books, both ones that you know and do not know already
Reading is a great way to expand your vocabulary and progress in a language. You can challenge yourself to read more and more pages, write down new phrases, and read out loud so you can practice speaking while you’re at it.
Do not be afraid of making mistakes
A major barrier that many people face when learning a new language is the fear of making mistakes. But you’ll only learn a new language by trying and learning as you go. You have to be willing to step outside of your comfort zone, feel silly and continue to do so.
If you are in the process of starting a new language course and are indecisive of which one to go with, bring it all back to the first point: remember why you want to learn a particular language. Consider what language you are the most motivated to learn, as learning a language takes significant effort and it will ultimately be the one you put the most effort into learning!