10 ways to practice languages out of the classroom

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Are you learning a new language but struggle to practice beyond the classroom? Must adult language courses take place 2-3 times a week, making it difficult to continuously practice on a daily basis. Even with homework, the learning experience is usually limited to the lessons. 

Broadening the scope of learning by including day-to-day activities can increase our retention, vocabulary and realize doubts that can be addressed during the class. As a language learner, I have found that the following activities help me learn a language more easily and practice between lessons:

  • Watch content in the language πŸ“Ί – Video content is great to improve listening comprehension. For beginners, children movies or series are great because the pronunciation is usually clearer and the characters speak slower. 
  • Look for lessons on YouTube πŸ’» – you can supplement your learning process with online lessons, pronunciation tutorials and short educational videos. Language teaching is standardized so it is easy to find content that fits your topic or level.  
  • Find a language partner  – apps like HelloTalk are good to find a language partner. I am very fond of this app because it helps pair people who are learning each other’s native language. In my case, I have found language partners that speak German, while I help them with Spanish. You can make corrections to the texts your partner sends and vice-versa. Audio messages and translation are also supported.
  • Write a diary – did you think that keeping a diary only fits teens? You are wrong. Writing down a paragraph about what you did during the day is amazing practice. It was my French teacher’s idea and I immediately realized how useful it was to increase my vocabulary and practice grammar. Talk with your teacher to see if they agree to correct your paragraphs. I don’t think they will say no. 
  • Read the newspaper in the language you are learning – while you could read other types of media, news articles are well-written and help you gain more vocabulary. Try searching for the most important newspapers in the country or area where the language is spoken. You can find here a list of relevant news sources by country. If you feel like you will forget to read the newspaper, set its website as your default homepage. That way you will see it first when you open your browser.
  • Take advantage of the educational resources provided by your school – does your school have a library where you can borrow books, audio CDs, movies or magazines? Does it provide access to online platforms? Sometimes we focus only on the lessons, but often schools include in the tuition price other resources for students to enhance their learning experience. You are already being charged for this, so why not make use of it?
  • Create a vocabulary list – apps like Quizlet are great for those who like making their own study sets. I began using this app when I started learning German as it allows me to write vocabulary, practice, and take quizzes. It also has a function that allows you to listen to the pronunciation of the words. I also use it to practice phrases, articles and verb tenses. reviews. As you can see, apps are a great tool to support language learning.
  • Enjoy your hobby in the foreign language – learning while fun has worked for me. If, for example, you enjoy listening to music, you can look for artists who sing in the language. In my case, I love football, so watching the matches or interviews in German helps me practice listening.
  • Set the foreign language as your default in electronics or websites – this one may sound a bit over the top, but doing this “forces” you to interact with the language on a daily basis. You can always switch it back, but it is fun to learn how a “ like” in Facebook is called in the language you are learning. πŸ‘
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  • Make a trip – this one is not on a daily basis but it requires to save money everyday πŸ˜‰. Making a field trip to a country where the language you learn is spoken, is amazing as it combines both language and cultural exchange. Learning a new language has lots of benefits, and the ability to connect and interact with people different from us is one of them. Language schools often coordinate an annual trip and while it may not be very cheap, it is a good idea to save money during a year and participate. If your school doesn’t offer a trip, you can also consider doing a summer program on your own. Tip: check out public universities as they might have summer programs at more accessible prices than private schools. That is what I did to study German in Munich at the Ludwig Maximilians University. 

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I hope that these tips to practice a language out of the classroom are useful to you, as they have been for me. Which language are you learning? πŸ‡©πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡ͺπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡¬πŸ‡§πŸ‡«πŸ‡·πŸ‡¨πŸ‡³ What other methods do you use for practicing?

First and second photo source: Pexels

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