In today’s globalized world, speaking different languages is more valuable than ever before. Whether you want to boost your CV and enhance your career prospects or travel the world and connect with people from different cultures and backgrounds, learning an additional language could open up a world of possibilities. Mastering a new language isn’t always an easy feat however, so we’ve put together some top tips to help you on your language learning journey. Bonne chance!
Find your motivation
First things first, make sure you have a clear goal in mind that you can work towards otherwise you’re likely to lose motivation and give up. Do you want to learn Spanish so you can go traveling around Latin America or do you want to learn German so you can go and study or work in Munich? Once you’ve established your goal, it’s crucial to commit and get working. However don’t put too much pressure on yourself and expect to be completely fluent within a few months. Start with a small, attainable goal. You can adapt this as you learn more.
Make it fun
It’s so important enjoy the language learning process. If you enjoy what you’re doing, you’re much more likely to stay motivated and you’ll progress a lot quicker. Forcing yourself to memorize lists of vocabulary for an hour every day certainly won’t do you any favors. There’s no one-size-fits-all method – everyone has different ways they like to learn so find out what’s best for you and stick to that. For instance, if you like film, download a film in your chosen language and have a movie night. If you prefer reading, get your hands on some magazines or literature and have a flick through on your daily commute or before bed, or if you like cooking, search for recipes in your target language.
Use podcasts, read books and magazines, watch TV and listen to music
Text books, vocab lists and flashcards aside, you’ve got to immerse yourself in your chosen language if you want to see real progress. Fortunately, we have access to so many great language learning resources nowadays. Listening to podcasts and music in your target language are both great ways to improve your listening skills and expand your vocabularly. Similarly, watching TV series and films are a fantastic way to immerse yourself in not only the language, but also the culture. Although reading an entire book in a foreign language may seem daunting, reading exposes you to lots of different vocabularly you may not encounter otherwise and it also helps you get to grips with complex grammar structures.
Practise a little every day
As the saying goes, consistency is key. It’s so important to expose yourself to the language, even for just 10 minutess, every day. This could be listening to some music in your chosen language while you go for a run, watching a TED Talk while you’re making dinner or looking through some flashcards on your bus ride to work. Next, it’s important to put what you learn into practise. For example, if you learn some new vocabulary related to food, try to use it throughout the week so you really cement it in your brain.
Finding a language exchange partner is a great way to practise your speaking and listening skills. What exactly is a language exchange? It’s when two (or more) people meet up to help each other practise their respective languages. There are also lots of online resources such as language-exchanges.org to help you find a language exchange partner that you can speak to via Skype. In most major cities, you’ll find language exchange events that you can attend so you can speak to lots of different people. If you find this a bit intimidating, take a friend along with you.
Enroll on a language course
If you want to make progress fast, consider investing in a language course. Learning from an experience teacher will not only give you direction and help you stay accountable, it also means you’ll get undivided attention and you’ll benefit from interacting with other learners.
At EU Business School Language Center, we offer a range of dynamic language courses including General Spanish, Business Spanish, DELE Exam Preparation, General French and General German to help both EU students and external students learn a new language quickly and conveniently. Whether you’re starting from scratch or you want to take your language skills to the next level, we offer courses for all ability levels from beginner through to advanced.
The main aim of our hands-on courses is to build your confidence in the core language areas: speaking, listening, reading and writing. You will immerse yourself in the language through a variety of activities including role play, debates and games. Classes are conducted entirely in the target language so you’ll have plenty of opportunity to practise.
Step outside of your comfort zone
It may be daunting but you’ve got be willing to put yourself in uncomfortable and potentially embarrassing situations if you want to develop. You will make lots of mistakes, especially at the start of your journey, and that’s absolutely fine. Making mistakes or forgetting vocabularly is all part of the learning process and may even help you remember things better for the future. Just go out there and speak to people and don’t be worried about what they think. People will appreciate you trying to speak in their language. No matter how much gramnar and vocabulary you learn, you won’t be able to communicate effectively without putting yourself out there. Why not set weekly challenges to keep yourself accountable?
Book an intensive program
If you’re serious about learning a language, you need to go to where the language is spoken and live among native speakers. Spending some time abroad will not only accelerate your language learning, it will also complement everything you’ve learned at home. A great option is to book an intensive program to fully immerse yourself in both the language and culture.
During the summer, EU Language Center opens its doors to students, graduates and young professionals from around the globe who want to develop their Spanish language skills. We offer an Intensive Spanish course which comprises four hours of clases per day and six hours of cultural activities per week. Participants have the chance to discover the best of Barcelona while making friends and practising their Spanish with our varied social and cultural program. In addition to our Intensive Spanish course, we also offer one-to-one teaching, a Business Spanish course, tailor-made programs and an internship program. To find out more or to book your course, simply send us an email.