No matter how often you study the vocabulary and the verb conjugations of a foreign language, you won’t make the same progress as if you were actually living with the language and being forced to do all of your dealings in daily life in that language. However, unless you have the opportunity to study abroad (which is incidentally one of the best decisions that you can make) it is very likely that the vast majority of your interactions will be in English. However, there are a few things that you can do to bring that foreign language closer to the center of your life.
Watch TV shows and movies in the foreign language. If you feel that you aren’t ready to take it quite that far, put on a movie in a foreign language with English subtitles on. Doing so will expose you to different accents and dialects as you listen to different speakers, expand your vocabulary, and help you to practice your comprehension. Even if you don’t understand every word that they say, practicing getting the general idea of what is going on will be beneficial.
In your foreign language class make an effort to only speak in that language, even to your friends. It might make you talk less to your friends at first, which could be a good thing, since it will allow you to be quiet and pay attention in class. It is also extremely good practice to attempt to have natural, everyday conversations in the other language, because often what you study and say in class isn’t commonly used in colloquial situations. This can make you feel like you don’t know the language at all, when all you really need is to be more comfortable with the real-world uses of the language.
Finally, set your facebook account to the other language! All of your posts and comments will still be in English, and learning to maneuver the site with all of its prompts in another language isn’t difficult since you are most likely already extremely familiar with the site in English. It’s a little change that can make a big difference!
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