How to Improve Your Second Language

10:00 AM

Most of us were required to take up a second language to complete our degree. It may not have been your favorite class to attend, but what you learned there is worth way more than just a degree requirement. Knowing a second language not only looks good on a resume, but can open the door to new experiences and opportunities that you'd never have without it. So instead of letting that new language go to waste, follow our tips to keep it in use. Besides, why would you waste all that time and money to just throw it away?
screen cap of Duolingo

Language Apps

Becoming a pro at your new tongue could all lie within the palm of your hand. There are amazing apps out there that help you learn and use a language you picked up. Apps like Duolingo and Babble  are great ways to start learning a new language. Just go to the app store, download them, and use the apps to brush up.

Immersion Programs

Being in an immersion program kind of forces you to throw away your fears and use your new language. There are many different ways you can go through an immersion experience such as going through immersion camp or enrolling in a program at a university. This may be the most "extreme" way to learn a language, but you'll definitely come out with more confidence and skills in the end.

Work it at Work

If you work in an area with diverse clients or personnel, you can use you skills there. I would try to help Spanish speaking customers with their purchases at my old job. You may be able to use your language skills with customers or other workers you have.

Book Smarts

Of course there are millions of language help books you can buy to improve your language, but getting a novel or magazine is another route to learn while being entertained. Go to your local book store and pick up a magazine in another language, or pick up a different translation of one of your favorite books. It's a fun way to learn and be entertained at the same time. Just make sure you get a language dictionary while you're there.

Watch TV

Who said watching TV was bad for you? Tuning into foreign language programs will help tune your ear to the language in use by native speakers, and help you see it in action. There are a few cable networks like Telemundo and online sites like Drama Fever that will introduce you to a diverse selection of shows and movies in multiple languages. Switching the language and caption on movies you already own or find on Netflix can help too.


There are some churches around that offer separate sermons in other languages. If you attend a church like this, or know of one, try attending a sermon. You'll be able to immerse yourself in the language and may even meet a few people during.. If you want to get a little more proactive, ask if they need help translating sermons or monitoring the daycare (kids are a lot easier to work with in my opinion).

Learn Online

There are multitudes of websites available online to help learn or improve a new language, and best of all, many of them are free! Sites like Talk to Me in Korean, Study Spanish and of course YouTube offer you many different people and sites that help you learn the language for free! You're only one search away from getting the help you need.

Location, location, location

Speaking to native speakers can be intimidating. Trying to remember the words, conjugations, and tenses is a lot harder to do on your feet in a conversation than it is writing in a classroom. Go to places where there is a high population of native speakers such as cultural centers, restaurants, or ethnic supermarkets. Initiate the conversation in the specific language first, so anyone you talk to knows the you understand. Just like that, you're starting a conversation in another language!

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