6 Ways to Master a New Language During College

Flickr user Quinn Dombrowski

The free time of every college student is significantly limited by studies. Written assignments, reports, readings, and other tasks are an inevitable part of life during that period.

Seems like the college is not a perfect time to learn a new language, right? Well, wrong.

Studies have shown that the younger you are, the easier it is for you to learn a new knowledge. After college, this ability diminishes and learning becomes harder.

That’s why college is a perfect time!

If you’re wondering how you could learn a new language with a busy schedule, here is a list of some great tips for you.

Let’s check them out.

#1. Visit a speaking club

It is a known fact that communication with native speakers or other learners in the target language is more helpful than studying for days. A conversation is an active and vigorous test of your abilities to interact in a new language, so it maximizes the benefits.

Assuming that you have some basic communication skills in your target language, find a speaking club in your area. Just ask around or search the Internet. These clubs are often free but may require a registration with the person who arranges the meetings.

While going to a speaking club won’t take a lot of time off your schedule it will make a significant contribution to your learning. Moreover, you can find some friends who are pursuing the same goal and have support along the way.

#2. Immerse yourself in the language using everyday tools

Make everyday tools your helpers in immersing yourself in the target language. For example, if you are learning Spanish, how about setting your phone to this language? You will learn at least a hundred words just by doing this simple thing! The same applies to other mobile devices. Next, you can watch television in Spanish or watch YouTube videos.

“To make sure that the process is as enjoyable as possible, find videos about something that interests you, says Mary Irving, a senior editor from Pro Writing. “For example, if you like watching history documentaries, then you should find them in your target language and watch.”

Identify new words while watching and find their translation afterward. This method can greatly boost your vocabulary and improve your listening skills.

#3. Take weekly classes with a native speaker

How about stepping out from your comfort zone and arranging a meeting with a native speaker? Even if you stumbled through your exchanges in the speaking club, these struggles do not mean you are not ready to speak with a native.

They should only mean that you have a plenty of room for improvement. And what is better than sitting and talking with a person who has been speaking your target language since childhood?

With this person in front of you, your motivation to learn will be much greater. Moreover, there are other advantages in this for you. For example, in addition to the language, you learn conversation, facial expressions, inflection, and even body language of native speakers and you can always ask for assignment help.

#4. Travel!

If you have a chance to travel during your break, do it! Go to the country to immerse in the target language environment and practice as much as you can. Use every opportunity to speak and interact with native speakers.

When you travel, you have an excellent chance to enjoy the enormous utility of the language first-hand. So, travel during the breaks to improve your language!

#5. Use shorter study periods

This requirement is fine for students who have limited time to study outside the college. Having shorter study periods allows to retain more new information than using long ones. For example, a 10-15 minutes study session that involves only five new words and a few expressions can be much more effective than spending hours in the books.

Kevin Paul, a well-known author, discussed this technique in his recent book called Study Smarter, Not Harder. According to his conclusions, sessions of 30 minutes are just enough to study something in a meaningful manner but not so long that focus is lost and the learned material is forgotten.

Also, the author recommended changing subjects to stimulate the brain to focus. For example, if you’re learning the topic “Accommodation,” switch to other topics to encounter new materials. The novelty is supposed to stimulate the learner to focus once again.

By using shorter periods, you study smarter!

#6. Find a friend for practice

Many people look for native speakers online to practice their language via Skype or other video apps. Indeed, it is a great way because you can do that from home at a pre-defined time. Find someone from your target country by posting an announcement on your Facebook profile or on a language learning site. Then, organize a weekly Skype session with a person who agreed to help you.

This would work particularly well for those students who have limited time to study. Even though it’s only one conversation a week, it is still better than nothing, right? Moreover, we already know that speaking is a great exercise for practice, so you will maximize the benefits.

Helpful Resources for Online Learning

  • The Polyglot Club – an organization that arranges language meetings in many major cities across the world
  • Smartlanguagelearner – language learning resource, where you can find a lot of useful information
  • My Language Exchange – practice language with others online for free on this platform
  • Memrise – free online courses of all languages!

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Lucy Benton

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