Tips and Tricks for Learning a Foreign Language
- These classes are intensive – more time-consuming and demanding than in high school. Budget sufficient time and energy.
- Spend time on the new language every day. Read a word or phrase, write it; listen to it, say it aloud. Print it in many parts of your brain. Repeat while walking across campus or taking a shower. Spending five hours once a week will NOT pay off.
- It isn’t necessarily fun to memorize new words, but to learn them you have to get them into your memory. Tricks of the trade include flash cards, oral repetition, and memorizing dialogs, poems and songs.
- When you learn a new language, you are creating new connections in your brain AND activating new groups of muscles in your body. “But I never had to practice my native language like this!” you may say. No – because you practice your native language every single day. Watch a child learning to talk and see how hard it works (and how hard it works everyone around it).
- Go to office hours! Ask questions, get ideas. The office hours are here to support you.
- Create immersion for yourself: attend the language table, listen to streaming radio, watch a movie, read the news online, talk with friends more advanced in the language. Create relationships that happen in the foreign language, so you don’t have to overcome habit and laziness to practice.
- Find a language buddy! This can be someone from your own class or a native speaker. Studying with friends is more fun and more effective, since language is what we use to communicate with other people.
- Get a tutor! Upper-level students and native speakers are paid to work with you. (Once you’re an upper-level student, this could be you.)
Resources for language study and supporting activities:
The Language and Media Center: Kohlberg Hall, 326
Language Tables: Sharples Hall, various rooms
The Spanish Language Table is held every Monday at 12:35 p.m. in Room 104 at Sharples.
Off-Campus Study Office: in the Scott Arboretum Building
Each language has its own Study Abroad recommendations; see the web pages for individual sections in MLL and the Spanish Department.
Tutoring: The Dean’s Office provides several sessions of FREE tutoring each semester. Contact Mira Barić in the Dean’s Office or stop by Parrish 108 or call (610) 328-8367 to speak to her in person. More information