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7 Things You May Not be Doing to Improve your Foreign Language Skills

`So, you have decided to learn a foreign language after years of wanting to. You decided that 2022 is your year. The first thing you did was probably go to the app store to download one of 5 most downloaded language learning apps. Maybe you chose Duolingo because it is completely free, or maybe Babbel because of their live sessions with native speakers, or maybe Rosetta Stone since it has been around so long. While downloading an app is a great start, there could be some things you may not be doing to improve your foreign language skills. If you do these things, you will be sure to quickly improve your fluency level.

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Join Social Media Groups

You are completing your lesson for the day on the app of your choice and come upon a strange new grammatical structure. You cannot ask the app any questions about your uncertainties, so you are stuck wondering about it. You have no way of searching Google because you have no idea how to even phrase your question. And since you have opted not to have a teacher, you are truly stuck. What can you do? Join a social media group! Search any language on any social media platform that allows for groups (Facebook comes to mind), and you will find people who are learning and teaching your language of choice. Post a screenshot of your exercise and ask your fellow group members why it is written that way, and you will quickly come to a better understanding of whatever concept you were not previously understanding.

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Follow Accounts Specific to Your Language

Whether it be on Twitter, Instagram, or Youtube, you need to follow accounts that are either language learning oriented or specific to the language you are learning. Doing so will gain you free access to a teacher of your choice. If you are looking for short chunks of information about your language or want to find articles related to what you want to learn, Twitter is the place for you. If you prefer a single graphic or brief video with a detailed description of what is being displayed, Instagram is your jam. If you want a more in-depth visual explanation of language related topics, Youtube is the place for you. All three of these platforms will offer a wealth of language learning information.

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Subscribe to a Language Learning Blog

One thing you may not already be doing to improve your language skills is following a language learning blog. When looking for a blog to follow, you want to look for one that has articles about your particular language. You will also want to be following a blog that has articles about language learning in general. This type of articles will aid you with tips for how to learn a foreign language, websites and apps to do so, and other interesting articles about the language learning journey. You will want to follow a blog that regularly publishes articles. Following one that last published something in 2019 will not be helpful, since no new information will reach your email. You will also want to choose a blog that comes from a reliable source and from experts in the field of language learning. 

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Find a Language Teacher

You may have decided to learn on your own from an app because you just do not have time to dedicate to lessons. Or so you think. To truly advance in your language fluency, an app will not be enough. Everyone needs a teacher at one point or another. Classes do not need to be in a super formal format or even in person. You can find a foreign language teacher online who will offer lessons based on time available in your schedule. So maybe once a week you watch one less episode of your favorite show. Lessons only need to be about an hour, so about 15 minutes more than the average Netflix series episode. So, maybe you do have time, you just need to prioritize your language learning a little more. 

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Find a Local Meetup

Maybe you want to practice with other language learners but are not sure how to find them. You can check for meetups happening in your area. Meeting with fellow language learners will take the pressure off of having to speak perfectly with your newly acquired language skills. You will also likely find that the areas of the language that you struggle with are a struggle for many fellow language learners. Oftentimes, it is easier to understand language spoken by fellow language learners because their accent is more like yours and their vocabulary will be less elevated. There are many advantages to meeting up with other people who are learning the same language as you are. Do not delay! Find a group of language learners today!

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Find a Local Foreign Restaurant or Store

Believe it or not, you may be able to find a local restaurant or store that sells authentic dishes from countries that speak the language you are learning. Experiencing the culture through partaking in food is an experience like no other. It will help you understand a little bit more about cuisine and life in countries that speak that language. Another possible advantage of finding an authentic restaurant or store is that the owner could possibly be a native speaker of the language you are seeking to learn. Likely the owner can also put you in contact with other native speakers, because fellow countrymen tend to gravitate towards one another in a new country. You might even run into native speakers inside the restaurant or store, since their foods of choice are available in those spaces. So, hop onto Google and find a local store or restaurant to check out and use your language skills in an authentic context. 

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Get Your Employer to Pay for Lessons

95% chance that you have not already done this. Did you know that companies across the globe pay for their employees to learn a foreign language? It is known as language training and has been done for years to equip employees with language skills needed to communicate with clients, partners, and potential customers. Employees of big companies such as Bosch, BMW, Google, and Mercedes-Benz take advantage of free to them language training on a regular basis. Smaller international companies also offer language training to employees. Sessions can be held at the place of business or elsewhere and can be for individuals or groups. Most of the time, it is actually the employee that learns about language training and brings the possibility to their boss or HR manager. Ask your boss and see what happens. You might just be surprised!

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