Maintaining fluency in a language requires frequent practice. Here are fifteen tips to help you stay fluent in a language after graduation!
Studying a new language is a very challenging task that requires many learning resources, hours of work, and dedication. Many people spend years in college striving to become fluent in a foreign language, which is both a great skillset to acquire and a significant achievement to earn.
However, as difficult as it was to adapt to that second language, it can be worryingly easy to forget much that you learned. Maintaining fluency in a language requires frequent practice.
Here are fifteen tips to help you stay fluent in a language after graduation!
1. Download a Language App
In our technology-oriented world, our smartphones serve as valuable resources for countless tasks and we rarely go anywhere without them. So why not use your smartphone to practice your foreign language wherever you go? Downloading a language app is a great way to keep your language skills sharp at your own convenience. Visit the App Store on your phone to explore your options.
2. Incorporate the Language into Everyday Life
The best way to maintain a skill is to practice it over and over again, and language is no exception. One of the most effective ways to stay fluent in a foreign language is to bring pieces of that language into your daily routine.
Speaking the language aloud, either to yourself or in conversations with others, will help to maintain, and maybe even improve your skills. Incorporating your adopted language into your everyday activities will make it feel like second nature.
3. Attend Community Events
In most areas, especially within larger cities, language events are frequently held for members of the community. This is a great way to meet people in the real world who speak, or are learning to speak, that same language. Not only are these events a fun way to improve upon your language skills, but you also have the opportunity to learn more about different cultures and connect with wonderful people along the way. Explore your local community to find an upcoming event near you!
4. Listen to Foreign Music
Another effective way to reinforce your foreign language skills is to find various artists and musicians who sing in your second language. Listening to others sing in that language can be a relaxing and beneficial way to keep your skills sharp outside of your typical studying regime. Additionally, the music can also provide a deeper appreciation for that culture. Hearing the words sung in different accents will also help to expand upon your knowledge of the language.
5. Watch Foreign Movies
Cinema can be a very helpful way to refresh your foreign language proficiency. Being engaged in the movie means you are also engaged in the language that is spoken. Watching foreign movies in the language you adopted serves as a way to keep your skills sharp, learn more about different cultures, and entertain yourself.
This option also does not need to be limited to just foreign movies – practically any movie can be watched in multiple languages by way of subtitles and secondary audio tracks, making your selection even more broad. Subtitles also serve as a way to strengthen your grammar and vocabulary.
6. Read International News
If you want to continue to maintain and improve upon your foreign language knowledge, international news sources are excellent options. Not only will you be staying up to date with what’s happening around the world, but you will also gain more exposure to your adopted language. If you’re looking for some good sources, foreign news articles can be easily accessed online, and some can be found in your local library.
7. Join a Language Club or Group
Connecting with other non-native speakers in your local community is another way to practice your language skills. Conversation circles, cultural events, and group readings are essential exercises in maintaining your proficiency. Familiarizing yourself with different vocabularies and accents is very important.
If there are no foreign language clubs currently in your area, start one! Connecting with others through online groups can be a great way to get things started.
8. Study Language Resources
There are many creative ways to brush up on your language proficiency skills; however, it is important not to forget about the simple, practical way to do so – studying. This method tends to be more structured than others but typically proves to be very effective. Going back and reviewing old resources, or even finding new ones, is an excellent way to get some extra practice in. Never underestimate the power of a good study session.
9. Explore Foreign Podcasts
Podcasts in your adopted language serve as an effective method of maintaining your language skillset. With countless topics to listen to, there is something of interest for all learners. And since podcasts can be listened to out loud or through headphones, they’re quite accessible and easy to incorporate into your daily routine. Providing a quick and convenient way to maintain your language skills, podcasts are a great way to go.
10. Read Foreign Literature
Foreign literature is another way to maintain proficiency in your adopted language. Check out your local public library, or seek out some online options, to find an endless amount of materials to explore. This method will help you to not only improve your current knowledge of a chosen language, but will also help to expand your vocabulary. Additionally, reading the material aloud can take your skillset one step further.
11. Become a Foreign Language Tutor
Since learning a second language is becoming more and more important, tutors are needed like never before and opportunities are usually not very hard to find. Whether you are looking to volunteer a few hours each week or make some extra money, being a language tutor has a number of advantages.
Sharing your knowledge with others is one of the most constructive ways to become an expert in the subject. Working closely with individuals trying to learn your adopted language can not only assist you in building upon your current skillset, but will also help you learn things you never knew before.
12. Take a Trip
Last but not least, travel! What better way to maintain your adopted language than to go and explore the place yourself? Meet the locals, taste the food, take in the beautiful surroundings, and learn more than you ever could from a textbook. Experience the language firsthand and strengthen your current skillset by conversing with the native speakers. Immersing yourself entirely into the culture of your adopted language is an extremely beneficial way to keep your skills sharp.
About the author:
Molly Downey works with the Kent State Master of Arts in Translation program. The program provides a variety of courses in foreign languages, cultures, and literature, and features six language track options, including German translation.