Want to practice speaking in the language you're working so hard to learn? Finding native speakers to practice with can be a challenge, so we've come up with 10 ways to interact with your new language and the people who speak it!
10 Social Ways to Learn a
Lots of people think learning a language is a
lonely process that is all about dry textbooks
and memorizing phrases that you would never
use in a real situation, but this is simply not the
case! In fact, learning a language can be a very
fun and social process if you know where to
“To couch-surf” has become a well-known verb
in the last few years. The couch-surfing site has
• Home-owners can open up their couches to guests
• Travelers from around the world can find one of
these couches to surf (or just sleep) on!
Best part? Via an advanced search option, you
can find people who speak your target
language to crash with!*
*Be sure to use your good sense and caution to select someone, of course.
Photo credit: foka kytutr, flickr, http://www.flickr.com/photos/kytutr/1106538282/
Study or Work Abroad
One of the best ways to learn a language is to
surround yourself with it, and force yourself to use it!
Almost every college or university has a study abroad
program that will surround you with like-minded
students who speak your target language.
Finding a job abroad can be tricky, but if you find the
right opportunity, you’ll boost your professional
language skills and internationalize your resume at
the same time!
Photo Credit: LeafLanguages, flickr, http://www.flickr.com/photos/76708317@N02/6966675886/
The best immersion environments are natural social hangouts.
Cue Intercambio, a website that allows speakers of multiple
languages to connect with each other.
At an Intercambio session, a group of people who speak two
different language (such as Spanish and English) get together to
practice whichever language they are learning. Spanish speakers
show up to speak English, whereas English speakers show up to
speak Spanish, for example.
The best part? Everyone is speaking their second language, and
the atmosphere is very casual, so there’s no pressure or fear of
Photo credit: l.bailey_beverley, flickr, http://www.flickr.com/photos/leebailey/5239107902/sizes/z/in/photostream/
Festivals and cultural events are a great way to
semi-immerse yourself. Even if it’s in your home
country, it’s still highly likely that local native
speakers will be there to practice with.
The best part? You get to practice the language
while learning more about the customs, food,
music, art, etc. of your country of interest!
Photo credit: For a de Eixo, flickr, http://www.flickr.com/photos/foradoeixo/7672439220/
Foreign language films are a fun way to absorb
your target language. Step it up a notch and
invite other language learning friends over, so
you can discuss the movie afterwards in the
If you want, choose a film with English subtitles,
but don’t rely too heavily on them! Just focus on
Photo Credit: BMW Guggenheim Lab, flickr, http://www.flickr.com/photos/bmwguggenheimlab/8358268203
Search for like-minded learners who want to get
out and about while still using the language.
Plan fun activities like going to a theme park or
hiking on a nice day to keep the pressure low,
but remind everyone that English is not allowed!
Photo Credit: 350.org, flickr, http://www.flickr.com/photos/350org/4099858969
You might want to arrange one-on-one tutoring
sessions with a native speaker to improve your
If you can’t find a tutoring service, you might be
able to find a native speaker looking to learn
English, and exchange your knowledge.
Photo credit: wonderlane, flickr, http://www.flickr.com/photos/wonderlane/37531816
Much like the film evening concept, a book club
provides an opportunity to converse in your new
The best part? In addition to the practice
reading and speaking in the language, you may
also get to learn more about the culture of the
language, depending on book selection.
Photo credit: loomy, flickr, http://www.flickr.com/photos/43827512@N00/292039065
The internet is one of the best ways to connect with
native speakers of your target language.
• Do a language exchange via Skype
• Follow Twitter feeds of native speakers and
practice reading their tweets and responding to
• Connect with native speakers on Facebook and
interact with them
• Subscribe to language blogs and leave comments
in the target language
Photo credit: carloszardoya, flickr, http://www.flickr.com/photos/carloszardoya/5466335755
Fall In Love
Almost everyone wants to fall in love anyway,
right? We’re not kidding, falling in love with a
native speaker is one of the best ways to learn a
There’s nothing more motivating than wanting
to interact with your beloved and their friends
Best part? You’ll have your own private teacher!
Photo credit: beautiful lily, flickr, http://www.flickr.com/photos/stacylynn/4625276934
Want more language learning tips from Lizzie
Davey? Check out her accompanying blog post.
She also writes for GEOS Languages Plus about
the language learning process and how to make
it less work and more fun!
Want more language learning tips from
Transparent Language? The first steps toward
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Twitter! We look forward to hearing from you!