5 creative ways to practice your foreign language skills

Spring time means university and college applications and exam time for many students! Is your IELTs or TOEFL exam coming up but you did not study as much as you should have? Or are you simply tired of course books and lectures? Here are 5 tips for you on how to pick up a new language in a fun and creative way!

1. Create a language tandem with someone! Maybe you have a French speaking friend who really wants to learn German from you while you need to brush up your excusez-moi? Meet up once a week for a walk, cooking or just a talk! No English allowed! Unless you have an English tandem with someone obviously… This is a great way to learn and make new friends at the same time. If you don’t know anyone with Russian skills, ask a stranger! I have seen people posting tandem-requests in the gym and the supermarket. Maybe you’ll meet the love of your life while you’re at it?

2. Read fashion, fitness or lifestyle magazines in the desired language. Magz are packed with pictures and it’s a great way to learn everyday conversation material and casual vocabulary while being entertained at the same time. In most countries magazines like Cosmopolitan, Shape Up and Rolling Stone is available in languages like Spanish, Russian, French and Italian! It’s more fun and cheaper than any course book 😀

3. Make yourself an account on Twitter. Yes, I’m serious! There are hundreds of language resources with twitter accounts tweeting everything from daily words with translations to articles and tips. Myself I’m following several Japanese language resources and really enjoy the things I learn from it. Maybe not super efficient though at least this makes it a little more useful to procrastinate on social media while you should be studying 😉

4. Are you a movie fan? Do you stream your favorite series? Next time, go for the un-dubbed version instead! Or watch a DVD in original language with subtitles! It takes a little time to get used to subtitles but once you get the hang of it it’s a free way to keep your language skills up-to-date. Another option is to watch an episode dubbed in your language first, then a second time in English. This way you already know the story and you get an English lesson for free! By the way, did you know subtitled TV is counted to be one of the reasons to why Nordic European people speak English so fluently? Series and movies are always subtitled, not dubbed! So this really works!

5. The last tip might be an old trick but yet so useful and easy. Change the language settings on your Facebook, phone, browser (maybe even microwave and TV?). Your brain already learned where to click to achieve the preferred actions, changing the language settings might just teach you an extra word or two while you’re tagging friends on FB! This goes for most Social Medias. My Twitter keeps asking me to change the language into German. Yesterday I finally gave in.

Hopefully these tips inspire you to spice up language learning and/or teaching! Making small changes and challenging yourself builds up your motivation and feels less exhausting than lessons and course book exercises. Good luck and share your experiences and other tips with us. We would love to know them 😀

[Norsk]

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