Tips 4 Success

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Choose A Realistic Target Language

Make sure the language you choose to study is one that will keep your interest.  Learning a language isn't easy, but it's possible given the right motivation.  If you're interested in a specific country or culture you are more likely to stick with a language.

Another consideration is the availability of language courses and general learning material.  If you choose a more popular language such as Spanish, French, or German you will find a large amount of material at your disposal.  On the other hand, if you choose to study Icelandic, Nepali, or Basque for example, coming across learning material could be difficult.

In the end it's best to make your decision while keeping in mind your level of motivation and availability material.          


Find A Good Self Study Program

Find a good self study program and stick with it.  I would recommend Assimil and Foreign Service Institute courses.  Whatever you decide to use, don't give up on it.  If you keep using it, even when it gets hard, you will improve.  Don't be afraid to go back and review material you already studied.  Try going back to some very basic material, you would be surprised how much you benefit from it.

Listen To Music

Listening to music in your target language is one of the best ways to stay motivated and enjoy learning.  It's fun to listen to a song and enjoy most of what was said.  When you come across a word you don't know, simply look it up in the dictionary and you will most likely remember it the next time around.  Don't have lots of cash for cds?  Download free MP3's from the countries where your target language is spoken on's free music section.  Look for their regional search.

Read A Little Every Day

Read something in your target language every day, even if it's only a short online newspaper article.  At least you will be thinking in your target language.  Even if it's difficult to understand what you read, keep trying, the more you read the easier it will get.  Try Google News for more than 30 regional editions in several languages.


Watch Online TV Programs

You might be surprised by the amount of online TV stations available these days.  It's possible to watch streaming TV from over one hundred countries.  Online TV is a great way to practice your listening skills.  Plus, it allows you to watch the exact same programs that native speakers in their own countries are watching.  Look for the language you're studying at one of the best websites for online TV, wwiTV.  They currently offer 2,698 online stations.


Find A Language Exchange Partner

Once you have reached a level where you can comfortably express yourself, or even if you aren't quite there yet, a language exchange partner can greatly help you improve.  If you don't know what a language exchange is, don't worry.  It's simply a time when two people get together to help each other with languages they are both learning.  For example, your native language is English and you are learning German.  You would want to find someone whose native language is German and is learning English.  Then you can agree on a set amount of time to speak English together, and a set amount of time to speak German together.  This allows both people to practice their target languages.

If you live in or near a large city it may be possible to find someone to practice with.  However, most of us won't be able to find someone who speaks the language we are learning in our own town.  This is where the internet really shines.  It's possible to talk for free to anyone around the world using programs like Skype.  Skype is great, but how do you find someone to practice with?  There is a website set up just for that purpose.  The Mixxer was designed to help you find someone to practice your target language with, and in turn to help them as well.  Doing regular language exchanges should help you to greatly improve your target language.  Good luck!


Don't study too many languages at once

Believe me, I know this can be tempting, but it's not worth it.  If you try to study too many languages at the same time you most likely won't make much progress in any of them.  Try to reach at least basic fluency in your target language before moving on to another.  If you can handle two languages at once, great, but trying to juggle three may be more trouble than it's worth.