Learn a new language! Easy to say, not exactly easy to do. However, there are some tips that will help you in the amazing adventure of learning a new language. We have collected some techniques that we have used at the university or during our stays abroad.
Learning a new language is a privilege, a chance to open your mind and understand new cultures. It makes fun and it will help you to meet many new friends whenever you will decide to move abroad. We are biased, but there is nothing as satisfying as saying the first words and sentences in a new language. The proof is in the pudding!
Imagine living in a shared flat in Barcelona, your flatmates comes from all over the world… How can you talk and become friends? A language in common may help, isn’t it?
The best way to learn a language and practice it? Live in the country of the selected language, of course! However, it may happens that you have to learn a language without moving abroad. More difficult? Yes, it is. Impossible? Not at all! There is not a right method to learn Catalan, Spanish, English, Italian or any other language. Nonetheless, several tricks will make this linguistic adventure easier. Here the ultimate helpBarcelona’s tips to easily learn a foreign language.
- Move abroad
This is our tip number 1. It doesn’t matter how many hours you will study, there is nothing as effective as moving abroad. Find a cheap flight, plan your stay and go! Several programmes offer you the chance to spend a period abroad, both academicals and not. You can babysit for a while as AuPair, you can study in a prestigious university as Erasmus student or you can begin an internship abroad with the Erasmus plus-Traineeship. Those are just a small part of the millions of programmes that will help you to move abroad.
- Practice regularly
This is the first and most important rule when you have to learn and practice a new language at home. It doesn’t have to be something boring, nor a full immersion of one day per week. Half an hour each day is more than enough (unless you want to get a certificate). Some ideas?
- Grammar exercises. Just a couple of exercise to understand how to use verbs, nouns, sentences, connectors.
- They will allow you to study a bit wherever you are. Do you have to spend 30 minutes on the bus? You can take your phone, log in and start a new lesson on Duolingo, for example.
- This is our favourite method to learn nouns, adjectives and verbs. You write the word on a side and the translation on the other one. How does it work? You choose a random card in the deck and make an effort to translate it or to remember what it means. You learn by playing!
- Look for a tandem partner
You must have heard about tandem partners several times. A person offers you its language and you offer him/her yours. You can meet in a bar or eat something together, go for a walk, have a coffee at home, etc. It’s not a lesson, it’s a friendship: you meet and know a person and you learn a language. The rules? Rule number one: you speak half a language and half the other. Rule number two: the level has to be the same (more or less).
- Live in a shared flat
Shared flats are usually the most common housing solutions for students and young workers who decide to move far from home or abroad. This is an unforgettable experience, a way to grow up, open your mind and widen your horizons. Why should you choose this accommodation instead of another one? Because your language skills will improve day by day. Imagine a rainy Sunday afternoon… you can play with flashcards or Dixit (amazing to know each other better and to make an effort to improve a language you have in common).
- Use post-it notes
How can you use the notes cleverly? They work perfectly with idioms or collocations and with those words that you cannot remember. All you have to do is to put them in place you look at many times each day and read them every time you can. After a while that you see and read them, they will be part of your lexicon.
- Read a lot
The second trick to learn quickly a language is the reading. Read everything, from the advertisement to novels, from simplified books to comics and children’s books. Everything can help you improve your lexical skills, even the menu in a restaurant is a great source of new words and phrases!). Read always, read a lot.
- Listen to the radio
Once you understand the radio, nothing can stop you! We are not exaggerating: it is true. Actually, you do not have any image that can help you understand a context, they talk very quickly and the voices may overlap. After the phone call, this is the best way to understand your level of Spanish, English, Italian, German, etc.
- Watch movies or TV series
Movies with subtitles, tv series, Youtube… They are all valuable tools to improve your language skills. Don’t worry if you don’t understand every single sentence or entire scenes. Give yourself the time to get used to the sounds and to the new language and, after a while, something magical will happen! You will understand all the dialogues of your favourite character…
Those tips worked for us, but, as mentioned before, everyone has his/her own method. A key point is that you understand the importance of learning a new language. When you have to sign a contract, go to the post office, if you need to talk with a plumber or to the police… Every single situation requires language skills that you can easily develop with exercise and dedication.
By choosing to live in a shared flat, you will have the great chance to train your language every day. Therefore, we offer our clients this housing solution: this is the best way to get the most of an experience abroad.
Are you ready to move abroad and learn a new language?