You spent some time abroad, but like all good things, your trip has come to an end.
Now that you're back, you probably want to keep the magic alive and continue practicing your foreign language skills. You definitely don’t want them to disappear. There are several methods for maintaining what you’ve learned; and even taking it to the next level, from wherever you are.
1. Head to the Library
The library is a treasure trove of resources to help you practice. Most libraries will have books, magazines, music, films, and other materials in foreign languages – that you can check out for free.
Also, don’t forget to look into special programs that your library offers. Libraries often bring in guest speakers who present in your chosen foreign language, or showcase the culture of the language itself. These are excellent events to attend to keep your skills current and perhaps learn something new.
2. Watch Foreign Films
Check your local events calendar and see where foreign films are being shown. Then purchase a ticket and temporarily immerse yourself in a faraway place. In most cases, you’ll be listening to the film in another language, but you can check your comprehension through the subtitles.
3. Listen to the Radio, Music or a Podcast
For resources to help you listen for correct pronunciation or try to distinguish words you know, radio and music are good options. You can learn a lot by listening to a song – even a simple children’s song. These days it's very easy to search for podcasts that concentrate on foreign languages or those that are most popular in other countries.
4. Check Out A Cultural Festival
Every weekend there are fantastic festivals that celebrate the food, heritage, and culture of regions around the globe. If you want to relive some of your traveling memories, seek out a local celebration. Depending on the time of year, many cities host some type of cultural festival, whether it's for the Chinese New Year, Oktoberfest, Cinco de Mayo, etc.
5. Meetup Groups
Try seeking out a group of like-minded people who want to practice conversing in a foreign language. Search Meetup or Facebook Groups, because they're the biggest platforms for these types of groups. You'll see groups at various levels that meet at convenient times for your schedule. And, you’ll find that most “meetups” are quite relaxed and social in nature – making them a great way to get back into having conversations in your newly-learned language.
6. Take Additional Classes
Taking an additional language class is probably the simplest and most effective way to prevent getting rusty. If your first language class was geared toward helping you on your trip, your second one will only boost your confidence and competence. Good thing we know of a great place to learn a language at any level.
7. Plan Another Trip
If you don’t want your language skills to fall by the wayside, what better motivation than another trip? It may be time to search for some flights to another destination that will have you speaking a foreign language and taking in some new sights.
Your suitcase may be in the closet – for now – but don’t pack away your language skills. Keep practicing them so that you’re all set for your next adventure. Jhumpa Lahiri said, “A foreign language is like a frail, delicate muscle. If you do not use it, it weakens.”
For classes that keep you practicing, check out Fluent City. We offer instruction for a variety of languages, and our instructors have an excellent track record for fostering fluency from all levels of learners.