5 Things That Will Help You Learn a New Language

Over the past few years, the evidence has been stacking up that learning a second or third language has benefited far beyond being able to pronounce your favorite foods correctly. Learning and becoming proficient in another language can make you a more attractive candidate while searching for jobs, and opens the door to being able to work in a different country. It can heighten your life expectancy as studies have shown that acquiring a new language contributes to a stronger brain and lowers your chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia in old age.

It can also help you develop better time management skills a new study has shown as people’s perception of time shifts depending on what language they speak.

My favorite reason for learning a foreign language is how it impacts your worldview, almost as much as traveling does. When you acquire a language, you also gain the ability to interact with people from a different culture than your own or in some cases, reconnect with a part of your heritage. This broadens your worldview but also gives you a fresh perspective on your own culture.

 If you find that learning a language is too complicated or are having trouble figuring out where to start, Here are 5 Tips to Learning a New Language.

Pick a language you genuinely feel connected to
This connection could come from a range of places, whether it’s the language of a country you dream of visiting, the language that your grandparents speak to each other, or a language that you just love the way it sounds. Find a connection that will truly motivate you to stick with it, or that will help give you a concrete goal.

Don’t dwell on negative past experiences
Maybe it was an embarrassing moment in class, or perhaps you had a terrible teacher in high school – whatever that bad memory was that you associate with a language you have a base in if you want to pursue it, go for it. When I was in high school, I hated my Spanish classes, but after some time and a great experience with it in college, I can now speak with confidence and truly love the language (almost more than my native tongue!). Let the bad memories go.

Use an app
Using a language learning app on your phone or laptop can be an easy and fun way to help you stay on top of your language goals, while also aiding you to make the most of your time (think of those moments when you’re stuck in traffic or waiting on your doctor’s appointment). Some great ones include Duolingo, Busuu, and Babbel.

Find a conversation partner
Having someone to talk to is a great way to take your language skills from passive understanding to a more active level. You can encounter a conversation partner in multiple ways: maybe you have a bilingual friend who is willing to help you, possibly reach out to an old friend you made while studying abroad or check at your local university for postings by exchange students looking to make a little extra cash.

Take a trip
If you find yourself plateauing in your language acquisition and are in a place in your life where it is possible, take a few months or a year to go to a country that speaks the language that you are studying and immerse yourself in it. Going abroad isn’t just for college students, and it can be more beneficial to you as a working adult to discover a new country and culture (more on this in a great article from girlboss.com http://www.girlboss.com/girlboss/2017/6/22/the-surprisingly-awesome-way-to-be-a-better-employee ).

Written By: Gemma C Nedelec