Learning a new language is a popular bucket list goal because it’s challenging, it’s interesting, and it’s a lifelong skill that can improve your travel and your life. But, because it’s difficult, not many people succeed in the way they wish. While there are countless ways to learn a language, here are a few tips if you’re just getting started and need a little nudge.
- Set Goals- Like all bucket list goals you need to make realistic deadlines to track your progress and be able to strive for your future success. You can set long term goals like when you’ll have full conversations in the language, and progress markers like when you’ll have simple conversations, when you’ll be able to introduce yourself, and when you can grasp what is being said in a short dialogue. These are up to you, just make sure you’re pushing yourself but allow for time if things get difficult.
- Collect Resources- You’ll obviously need resources to learn the language like a translation dictionary, audio files, and books. It’s also a good idea to get movies (from that country, not dubbed) and watch them both for the language and for cultural references or idioms.
- Use It- Memorizing vocabulary and listening to the language isn’t enough to get you speaking and communicating. It’s important to practice forming words and sentences that are unfamiliar to our English mouths and to quickly listen and understand the foreign words. You can find a language exchange partner online or look in your community for classes or language groups to speed up your progress.
- Stay Positive- Learning a foreign language is tough. If it weren’t, everyone would speak every language. But just remember why you want to learn that language, maybe an upcoming trip or you want to communicate with people you know in their language. Whatever the case, keep reminding yourself, that way you keep from feeling down if things are moving slower than you’d hoped.
- Immerse as much as possible- If you’re learning a language for a trip, the trip might just put the finishing touches on your language learning. Try to speak as little English as possible so you immediately immerse yourself into the rhythm and mindset of the new language. If you don’t have plans to travel, maybe plan a trip! Or, if you can’t, try to block off days, or even a few hours where you won’t hear any English and will try to keep English off of your mind, listen to the language, read, and if possible, talk to others.
Hopefully this has inspired you to learn a new language, or to continue to learn a language you’ve chosen already. Let us know in the comments below what language you’re learning, maybe you can even find a learning partner!