As many of you know, I lived in Sopot, Poland for nearly 4 years. Although, I am terribly ashamed to even write this, I started learning Polish on my last year of being there. To this day, I am remorseful about that decision. Thankfully, I did learn something valuable that I am able to share with those who want to learn another language or are in the process of learning a new language. Here is my 3-step plan on learning a language easier.
You hear it all the time, but how many of you actually do it? I know, it can be difficult if you are living in your home-country and trying to learn, for example, Japanese. However, that’s no excuse! You can still somewhat immerse yourself in the language you want to learn. How? By really immersing yourself through books, tv shows, music, etc. You will be absorbing the language you’re trying to learn all day long and you also get to know the language’s little quirks.
Have No Shame
This is probably the most valuable piece of advice I can give to anyone. Literally, have no shame! If you meet someone that speaks the language you are learning, strike up a conversation with that person. Yes, you will mess up. Yes, you will probably, most likely, look like a fool. But at the end of the day, who cares?! You will have the chance to practice phrases, vocabulary, your pronunciation, and it will boost your confidence level (hopefully!). The more you do this, the more confidence you’ll attain and the more you’ll learn (from knowing where you need to improve, to where you’re kicking butt).
Set attainable Goals
Just like anything you want to achieve, you should always set attainable goals. Learning a language is no different than trying to lose 10 kilos by the beginning of summer. You need to be committed, but you also need to make your studying into bite-sized lessons. Don’t make it a marathon because, believe or not, you’ll get burnt-out. And perhaps by the end of your goal, you can reward yourself with a trip to that country (just saying!)
Remember that learning a language is not a 1 or 5 year plan, it is a lifetime plan. Think about your own native language, you are still constantly learning. Don’t feel defeated if you are not “fluent” by year 5. Learning is all about the journey, not the destination. And don’t forget to make learning a language an everyday activity. Little by little you will see your achievements shine through all your hard-work!