Foreign language classes are notoriously some of the most time-consuming courses in high school and college. Whether you’re taking the class for the love of the language or just to get some Gen Ed requirements done, we have some tips for how to the course and impress your prof with your skills.
1) Multi-sensory flashcards:
With StudyBlue, you can add audio files and images to your flashcards, which means there are multiple ways you can study the language. Add audio clips to test your listening comprehension and photos to give you a visual component to the vocabulary. High school students – listening comp is a big part of the AP language exam! Let StudyBlue help you earn that 5 on AP Spanish.
2) Think beyond the homework:
We know – sometimes doing anything besides the basic requirements for your class seems daunting, since you probably have at least three other courses demanding similar attention from you. However, learning a language fully is going to require more than spending the few hours a week in class. Absorbing the language in your daily life is a hugely valuable way to learn more vocabulary and syntax.
See if your favorite TV shows on Netflix are available dubbed in Spanish, or ask your professor for recommendations on her favorite French movies. WikiHow recommends starting with a TV show you are already familiar with, so that you won’t get discouraged quickly by your lack of understanding. Switch your iPhone or Facebook language, read a foreign newspaper online, or try to conquer reading books in your foreign language (children’s books count!). Also worth trying: listen to podcasts and music in your chosen language in the car!
3) Talk it out:
After a certain point, all your memorization of vocabulary and verb conjugations (thanks, StudyBlue flashcards!) will become useless if you aren’t using them to actually converse. Join your school’s club for that foreign language and attend weekly meetings where you speak with other learners in the language.
An even better way to practice is to talk to a native speaker. Contact your college’s office for international students and see if they can put you in contact with an exchange student. Often, international students are looking for ways to practice their English, so you could set up a weekly language exchange meeting where you spend half the time speaking in English and half the time in their native language. Alternatively, try LiveMocha – a website that can set you up with video chats with native speakers for free.