Learning A Foreign Language Throughout Your Day

Starting at WashU, I was really excited to look into the language classes offered. I wanted to try learning a different language that my high school didn’t offer and eventually enrolled in a beginning level Korean course. Here are some of my top tips for learning and practicing a language throughout your day! 


  1. Quizlet: My schedule this semester is more science-heavy, and I don’t typically study for my science courses using flashcards. However, I’ve always loved how concise and precise flashcards make studying feel and have found that I really enjoy using the digital flashcards Quizlet provides! Since I’m in a beginning-level language course, a lot of the content is vocabulary-based, which requires memorization. My study routine starts with getting an overview/list of the new vocabulary for the unit towards the start of a new unit, and then delving into more of the activities offered by Quizlet throughout my week to help apply and solidify the new vocab. I love using the “Write” feature to help me learn  the structure of words and how consonants/vowels compose a  full word. I’ve found that I like to use Quizlet in the mornings shortly after I wake up--you can easily access the app or mobile site on your phone and can use your practice to wake up your brain and prepare for the day!
  2. Applying new words, concepts, and grammar patterns to everyday life: Application and practice make perfect! I remember that when we started learning how to construct complex sentences with conjunctions and other grammar patterns, I would try to construct sentences mentally about my daily routine in Korean using the same grammar patterns. By connecting what you learn with your daily life, concepts begin to feel more tangible and less abstract. Also, studying a language using “application” techniques helps your brain develop connections between words and grammar concepts--you might just find that forming sentences using a specific grammar pattern that you’ve practiced will come more naturally and fluidly next time!
  3. Consult reference sentences, passages, and examples: If your language course offers  a textbook with example conversations or narrations, taking 10-15 minutes out of your day to read through the sections multiple times will help practice your reading skills and comprehension skills! Eventually, you may find that after several read-throughs, you can begin to memorize the grammar patterns presented. If your textbook offers example conversations, try taking the part of one of the characters and then switching! This way, you can practice saying the lines in a more natural context.
  4. Engage frequently with the material: As a “brain break” of sorts, you can try to review one grammar concept or a set of new vocab when you take breaks from completing other assignments. Consistently putting in smaller amounts of time to review language  concepts will help you retain them better! 

  Good luck!