Learning languages is fun and it is an endless journey. No matter how many years you study a language, there is always something new to discover about languages!
The secret of becoming proficient and fluent in a foreign language lies within you and it totally depends on your motivation to immerse in the language you want to learn. How would you learn a language if you are miles away from the country where your target language is spoken? Here are some tips to help you get started:
Developing habits play a significant role in language learning. For example, you can choose a specific time to watch a TV channel that broadcast in the language you are learning every single day to improve your listening skills or you can choose to read an online newspaper to advance your reading skills. If reading newspaper articles is a difficult task for you, you can just have a look at the headlines and try to understand it. You can also use a dictionary to look up the new words. You may also prepare flashcards for the new words you learn and then practice it at a specific time of the day every day. Developing habits and putting them into practice even 10 minutes a day would make a huge difference in developing your language skills.
2- Watch movies or TV series with subtitles
Watching movies or TV series in the target language with target language subtitles would improve your language skills. You may start watching movies with subtitles, and as the time passes by, you will start understanding what is said in the movies and you will not need the subtitles as you get used to hearing words. Keep a movie vocabulary/phrase notebook. While watching movies, you can pause the movie and take some notes about the things you see anew. You do not have to finish the whole movie in one sitting. Start with baby steps and watch only 5 minutes if it is too tiring for you.
Use the benefits of social media and open an Instagram/Facebook account and send posts about your life in your target language to increase your writing and reading skills. On top of that, if you upload videos of you speaking in the target language, you can practice and improve your speaking skills as well. Find people who share the same interests as you and keep your motivation alive. You may also find and follow people on YouTube on your target language and follow those YouTube channels to practice your listening skills. By using such media, you can follow your progress by taking a look at your previous posts, videos etc.
4- Keep your mind busy with how to practice the language or make audio recordings and listen to your voice
Constantly ask yourself “how to say X?” in your target language or ask yourself “what would I say in this situation?” or “how can say I this in the target language?”…
It is not easy for everyone to hear themselves while they are speaking, for that reason it would be a good idea to do voice recordings and listen to yourself and hear your own voice as if you are a stranger. Sending your recordings to your teacher to receive feedback about your pronunciation, accuracy and fluency is highly recommended.
5- Relax, make mistakes, be patient and learn step by step
All of us want to speak foreign languages without any mistakes! But relax… Do not worry about making mistakes. As you practice, your fluency and accuracy will improve together simultaneously at some point in the future.
6- Find an online professional language teacher
Formal lessons organized around communicative, integrative tasks with good planning would support you to reach to your language goals. Learning with the guidance of a professional teacher would facilitate you with the right materials and tools to prepare you for the real-world situations.
Language teachers are also cultural ambassadors of their countries. Along with the language, you would also learn a lot about the culture of that language.
7- Find a language friend/partner
Apart from taking online formal lessons, you would have informal online meetings with native speakers or students who learn the same language and share common interests. Sharing and talking with friends would help you to keep your motivation alive.
8- Travel and always make it fun!
The best part of learning a language is when you are fully immersed in the language in the country where it is spoken as a native language. In order to have an international experience and to live in a different culture, you may apply to summer programs provided by the universities or attend a language course. Living in a different country, away from your comfort zone changes your life and vision in a better way.
One day, you would be so surprised to wake up and remember that your dreams were not in your native language but in the language that you are learning.
May you have dreams in your target language and all your dreams come true!