Things you need to know before learning a language
"You learn from your mistakes". You've probably heard this saying a thousand times, and not without reason. It's so banal, yet so true. You can't learn a new language without making mistakes. The only way not to make mistakes is not using the language - which isn't really possible if you want to learn a new language! You have to try to break out of your comfort zone and just go for it, even if you mispronounce something or miss words you don't know yet. Trust that you will improve with each mistake. No one is going to judge you or think less of you when you make mistakes, because everyone knows how difficult it is to learn something as hard as a completely new language. On the opposite, it is very impressive to start on a language learning path, something to be truly proud of!
Children learn differently than adults. They tend to think "I can't do this yet" because they know they will learn sooner or later, and don't tend to get discouraged at the first difficulties. They take it for granted that they will eventually be able to do it and are happy with every little bit of progress. Children don't question so much why something is the way it is, but just accept it as it is and are not afraid to make mistakes at the beginning. A mistake a lot of people make at the beginning is giving up because they don't think they are natural language learners. There is no such thing! Even the most talented students need to put a lot of work in what they do. So don't give up, and remember: practice, practice, practice!
'Learn by doing' literally means taking any opportunity you have to learn and apply what you learn. Whether it's watching a movie with subtitles, writing new vocabulary on a post-it and looking at it while brushing your teeth in the morning, or reading through the packaging of your French cheese, everything is useful. Even if it's just placing an order at your favorite Italian restaurant or making small talk with your Portuguese co-worker, these small things will improve your vocabulary and build your confidence. We truly believe that you learn the most when you use the language in everyday life! We really advise you to do more than simply follow your textbook and trying to understand every single grammar rule. Instead, try to develop a feeling for the language by using it in real situations.
On the contrary, it helps to memorize new words better if you keep saying them to yourself. A useful trick is to repeat words you've heard and try to form simple sentences with them. This will also prepare you for real conversations, making these easier since you will already have practiced by yourself. The more you speak, the better - whether it's to yourself or others. Of course, it's not always possible to say everything out loud, and you may find it distracting when you're on the train or in other public places. In that case, it really helps to think in your new language. Ask yourself simple questions that you answer in your head. You don't have to change your entire way of thinking, especially in the beginning, but just try to let your thoughts run free in the foreign language for a few minutes every day.
Finding someone who wants to learn the same language as you can be a huge help in your educational path. There are so many advantages to knowing you're not alone: you can talk to each other, make mistakes and improve together, learn together and motivate each other. And remember, learning a language doesn't just mean sitting down at a desk, try to get creative! For example, you can organize themed evenings where everything revolves around Spain and prepare delicious tapas together, listen to Spanish music and, of course, talk to each other in Spanish. Sprachcaffe tip: texting is a great way to practice your day to day language!
This is of course easier said than done, but it is always forgotten when learning a language. You will not be able to carry on a complete conversation without problems after one day of intensive training. Not even after a week. A language takes time and requires a lot of patience. You have to practice and internalize what you learn until the language comes naturally to you. Languages are extremely complex,and between vocabulary, sentence order, and grammar rules, there is a lot to learn. It will take some time for you to be patient with yourself, as well learning from your mistakes and turning them into successes.
Always keep in mind the reason you are learning the language and don't give up too soon! One of the best way to truly learn a language is being in its origin country and speak it with the locals. And that is what our language trips are all about! International students, expert teachers, and language learning in beautiful locations! Take a look at our amazing selection of languages and destinations and start learning!