3 Tips (Outside of the Textbook) That Will Help You Learn a New Language

With globalization being such an important factor in our world today, it is crucial that people speak more than one language these days. We are starting to realize that speaking one language isn’t enough, and large companies would prefer if their applicants could speak more than one language.

Now, that’s easier said than done. Learning a new language is difficult.There are so many different tenses, verbs to be conjugated, and understanding the culture. I speak three languages – I was born and raised in the States so I speak English, my parents are Korean so I speak Korean at home, and I started learning French in middle school and am still learning it now. And let me tell you… the struggle is real! But I have some tips (aside from the cliché “by the textbook” rules) that have helped me and will hopefully help you to make the learning process easier.

1. Speak to people who already mastered or are natives at the language.

This is a tip that my mom told me she uses at work. She’s not a native English speaker, so her grammar isn’t always correct and she has her Korean accent. But she always says that she’ll try to strike up a conversation with people. She makes mistakes, and they don’t always understand what’s she’s saying, but she doesn’t let that get to her. If anything, they’ll try to help her out with what she's trying to say. So don’t be afraid and strike up a conversation with someone! Not only will it improve your conversation skills, but also your listening skills and overall help you become more comfortable.

2. Watch TV shows and soap operas to understand the culture.

This is just my opinion, but I always got the feeling that the books that were used in school were too formal and didn’t help me understand the culture of young adults today. So I started watching TV shows and soap operas that are popular among modern young adults. There’s always room for improvement, so I still try and polish my Korean every now and then. I watch entertainment shows like “Running Man” or “Infinity Challenge” to learn the sense of humor that they have. This makes me feel caught up in their modern culture. If you’re ever bored of reading textbooks or conjugating verbs, try watching a TV show! It’ll be fun.

3. Download language learning apps on your phone.

Most of us all have smartphones, or some sort of tablet on us nowadays. We spend so much of our time on it anyway, so why not use it to advance our education? There are so many free apps on the Apple Store or Play Store in which you can learn a new language. Some of my favorites are Duolingo, Babbel, and Memrise. Once you make an account (for free) on these applications, you can instantly start learning at your own pace and do it whenever you have time. And this may be just me, but I feel a sense of accomplishment when I finish a level and move on to the next.

Learning shouldn’t always be boring. I feel that it should be fun and interactive! (My inner teacher coming out... haha). So if you’re worried or hesitating about learning a new language, go for it. You got this! Bonne chance! Good luck! 


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