You have attended almost every class of your second language, spent hours trying to build up your vocabulary, watched and listened to almost everything that was possible in order to boost your listening skills. You were imagining yourself on a hot summer day coming into a cafe somewhere in London or Paris and conversing fluently with the barista in a language you were trying to become proficient in. Moreover, barefaced 2020 has manifested that our thoroughly planned vacations can be messed up within a second. A familiar situation, isn’t it? So how does one NOT feel embarrassed or hang their head down… but keep the level of learning their language up? Here are some steps to take.
Your phone is your best friend
Switch your phone into the language you are studying. Someone might say that it doesn’t make any difference and can hardly benefit you in your learning journey, but just think that on an average we spend around five hours a day on our phones. It ultimately means that you will spend the same amount of time with your target language.
Effortless steps make big difference
Put stickers with ‘foreign’ words on the things surrounding you. It is a simple idea but so beneficial. The human brain tends to forget words we sometimes use as a matter of routine, especially if you don’t converse in them often. A friend of mine went to Argentina after having learnt Spanish for a couple of years. Do you think she was pleasantly surprised discovering that she could easily translate content of bilateral meetings, but struggled to ask for salt, a cup of coffee without milk or directions? By seeing every day words, you train your brain to remember them and in key moments you will be able to pick the right one.
Every day routine
Incorporate immersing yourself into your ‘goal language’ as a daily life. Internet is a treasure trove. Follow some YouTube bloggers talking about that dream destination or try to search for locals of the country you were planning to travel to. It doesn’t matter what exactly you watch… the key to success is to do it by learning the language and to be consistent.
Now it is time to talk about training our productive skills.
Talk to yourself
Don’t worry you won’t go crazy. The point is to start practicing what you have read, listened to and watched. There is no doubt that mental conversation is easier to obtain and we won’t make ourselves feel embarrassed. But remember, NO PAIN, NO GAIN. Moreover, while talking aloud to yourself, the brain is analyzing everything, so you will figure out what words you need to learn and which grammar rules to revise. So, meeting with native speakers won’t be that shocking anymore.
Join a language group on social media
On the web there are a lot of pen-pal sites. There is a downside; most of them are not free of charge. Well, on FB you can find language groups and join them for free. The big advantage might be if people are open to having video calls there, so you will kill two birds with one stone: chatting to the members and having real talks once in a while. By the way, we have an idea to organize such group with weekly topics to discuss, so if you are interested and considering to become a member, leave a comment “want into the group” down below and we will send you an invitation.
The Bottom Line
There is always a silver lining. And if we can’t go to the country of the language, we have been studying for such a long time, let’s create this environment ourselves.