5 mad ways to practice your language skills

So, you’ve just arrived in a new country, eager to put all that theoretical knowledge you have striven to learn into practice. Then you realise it is not that easy, being in a new place can be rather lonely and when you have sorted out all the paperwork and other duties you cannot avoid, you will be reminded that it was a lot easier to make new friends and meet people at school when you were 6. Things have changed BUT you can find a lot of natives willing to listen or talk to you.

1.Crash a university course

In many countries, universities are open and it is rather easy to get in without being noticed. In some major cities, universities are bigger than towns: nothing more simple than sneaking in. To feed your crave for languages, look out for the largest amphitheatres, which are usually used daily and among hundreds of students, no one will question your being here. Quality teachings for free!

2. Making an appointment with a psychologist

Regardless whether you feel mentally sane or not – this is like a speaking class, except that your health insurance pays for it! Great deal, not to mention you will get to learn how to introduce yourself in details, diss your family and friends and – best of all – nag about your life and your meaningless problems.

3. Harassing the sales assistant

I highly recommend the Apple Store, but it works with most retailers. How to proceed? Very easy : browse the aisles and let one of the bubbly Apple clerks offer their help. You can trigger an hour long monologue with that magic sentence: “I’m a PC user, why should I buy an iMac?” The zealot will give you extensive arguments that will enrich your IT lexical field in no time.

4. Walking on the main street

You think you hate them, but you are overlooking how much profit you can derive from them. You know those young broad-smiling people trying to convince you to save the world/animals/the environment/the elderly/the local theatre for only €7.00 a month? They have answers for all questions you have. Shoot away and let them present their noble goals for a good few minutes. They will even come across as friendly. Make sure you get the whole scope of their work and cut short to the conversation when they’re done by saying you don’t live here (hence no bank account in the country) and they will lose interest as fast as they will jump at someone else.

5. Sitting on a bench in the park

Because this is where all the people who have no one to speak to go. Retired old women feeding birds or young mothers walking their offspring out: you most definitely have more conversation than pigeons or toddlers and it should be enough to get your audience hooked. Granted it might not be the most exciting conversation you’ll ever have, but you will get to speak!

[Français]

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