Learning a new language is a major project and in order to succeed in doing so, a few simple tips can ease the way dramatically. As with other major projects, the key to success lies in consistency and small steps rather than a flash in the pan. And this consistency will only arise if you pursue the learning with a passion. The following five recommendations are instrumental in keeping this passion alive throughout the stages where your language journey might linger (and be aware: these will happen).
1. Practice regularly but lightly
Develop the habit to engage with the language you want to learn on a regular basis, be it through having a class with one of our teachers or by watching television or reading a magazine in that language. Have a pen pal or set up a lesson plan of grammar and vocabulary that you practice once per week. Or watch a movie once per month. The options are various, but the key to success lies in consistency. And you will only develop consistency if you don’t overdo it in the beginning and lose your motivation shortly after. Start with a regular interval that does not put too much pressure on your other commitments and intensify once you feel comfortable with your lesson plan.
2. Learn via multiple channels
A language is used for expression in various ways: discussions, books, loveletters, plays or speeches are only a tiny bit of the spectrum. While learning a language, best progress is made if you apply it in various ways yourself. This means basically talking as well as listening, reading as well as writing. By adapting this playfulness, you will not only enjoy the learning process more but you will also learn faster.
3. Immerge in the culture
Read a local newspaper and follow culture, sports and politics. Share these stories with your friends. Try out the food of the country whose language you are learning. In that way, you will be even more inclined to the culture you are studying and your motivation will remain high. Furthermore, you might meet new people sharing your interests or native speakers.
4. Keep a learning diary
Write down your successes and vocabulary that you struggle with. Note grammatical issues that you find challenging, quotes that you deem inspiring as well as phrases that you consider eloquent. Write down both things that you learn as well as things that you do not yet understand. Over time, this written reflection of your insights will sharpen your knowledge and increase your understanding.
5. Reward yourself
Define milestones with your teacher or set goals yourself on the road to learning a language. Giving yourself a pat on the back in one form or another after reaching one of your goals. This will give you the motivation to tackle the next challenge. Rewards obviously can be various and could range from having a nice dinner (best in a restaurant serving the cuisine of the country whose language you are learning) to a small trip (maybe to practice your language skills in real life).
Finally, to close this list with the most important recommendation of all: have fun! Enjoy your language learning experience!