7 Ways to Succeed at Your Language Goals
Fluency in a second language is in higher demand than ever, with jobs from all over the marketplace offering higher salaries and better job security to bilingual employees. But learning a new language can be a momentous task to undertake, and whether languages come easily to you or not, you can be sure that you will be putting in an enormous amount of effort to achieve proficiency, let alone fluency. How can you make that journey a little easier? Here are 10 tips offered by our language experts that will assure you greater success in your endeavors.
1. Know Your Motivation. There are as many different reasons for learning a language as there are speakers, and remembering why you’re learning it in the first place can provide you with the fuel to keep going when it gets frustrating. Whether it’s so you can travel independently, communicate with people from another culture, or succeed in the workplace, always have that ultimate reward in mind.
2. Set Short-Term and Long-Term Goals. While your ultimate goal may be complete fluency, that may take years. To keep yourself from burning out, set yourself short-term goals to achieve in the meantime, such as learning 10 new words a day, or reading a short story untranslated.
3. Read Outside of Class. If you are taking a language class, you may be tempted to keep your learning within the classroom. But if you take the initiative to seek out independent reading material, whether online or in the library, it will make language-learning a more fun and dynamic experience.
4. Join a Language Exchange. No matter what level of proficiency you have, joining a language exchange is a fun and organic way to improve your conversational skills, and make new friends while you’re at it.
5. Turn Off the Subtitles. Yes, foreign cinema is a great way to practice your listening skills, but there comes a point at which the subtitles become a crutch. Try turning them off to see just how much of the dialogue you actually understand.
6. Travel. Taking a holiday to a foreign country isn’t an option for everyone, although if you live in Europe a weekend trip to Paris is certainly an option. But immersion in a foreign language can be a lot closer to home than you expect – try visiting cultural centers or neighborhoods in your city with a high density of foreign language speakers.
7. Don’t Get Discouraged. It will always seem that no matter how hard you work at studying a language, you will always be so far away from fluency. Rather than worry about that, focus on how far you’ve come, and compare your communication skills with what they were only a few months ago.
One final thing to note is that language learning—as with any great endeavor—doesn’t happen in a vacuum, and the best way to ensure success is to surround yourself in an environment of like-minded teachers and students. If you’re excited to get started with learning a second language, try one of our free online language level tests to see to see where you place. Then, send us an inquiry about one of our many courses, and we’ll get you on your way to language proficiency.