Before sharing with you all of my best tips to improve your foreign language skills, here's a little bit of background on me and my love for languages... I'm from France, so French is my mother tongue. I have been learning English since I was seven and I've been obsessed loving this language since day one. And well, I loved it so much that I decided to study it at university two years ago along with Spanish. I started learning Spanish at school too, but at age fourteen. And this year, I've started learning a new language, one that is completely different from the three others that I already speak (and when I say different, it's because it's a totally new alphabet) and it's... Russian! I will probably never be fluent in that one though - but I wanted to try something different. Wish me luck, ha!

So here are my tips, tested and approved by yours truly, to improve your foreign languages skills:

First of all, take language classes. In order to improve a foreign language, you actually need to know the basics like basic phrases, grammar and vocabulary.
Now that I got that out of the way, to have a good level of any foreign language I believe school isn't enough - you have to practice a lot at home too but don't worry, they are fun ways to do it!

#1 Watch TV shows and movies with subtitles


It's probably the one thing that helped me improve my English the most throughout the years. There's a lot of websites where you can watch series/movies online. Start by watching them with subtitles in your language. One you get used to it, switch to subtitles in the language you want to learn (not your mother tongue!) or don't use them at all! You can also try to watch series or movies that you've already watched before. It's going to be easier because you already know what's going to happen.

Find TV shows that tell a not too complicated story (just to give you an idea, I started at age 14/15 watching The Vampire Diaries and Gossip Girl). If you start straight away with a series or movie where characters use complicated words, I'm thinking medical or law vocabulary for example... You're going to want to give up!


#2 Use Social Media


Twitter & Instagram


Try finding people who like the same things as you, who speak the language you want to learn and follow them. If you like a singer, for example, follow some of their fans. Their tweets/instagram captions will show up in your timeline, which means you'll get to see people writing in that language every single day simply by going on Twitter/Instagram! So easy! 

Don't be afraid to talk to them to practice. That's what I did when I wanted to improve my English, and at first, it was so stressful. I wasn't sure about pretty much everything I was typing ('how are you', is it really said like that?? google traduction, quick!) and I remember talking to a lovely English girl. I was making a lot of spelling mistakes but she would correct me every time. Slowly learning!

Youtube


There are so many Youtubers who speak the language you want to learn. Whether you like beauty, fashion, food or travel... there's something someone for everyone. That's a great way to improve your listening comprehension, especially if you watch vlogs. You're going to see them talk to other people, which will help you remember and understand the vocabulary of everyday life. Thanks to this, I also got used to hearing different accents (American, English, Australian, Irish and so on...) depending on who I was watching and I now can tell the difference between them all - which I wasn't able to do a few years ago!

If you want to watch some French or Spanish YouTubers to improve your listening comprehension skills, let me know and I'll suggest you the ones I watch and like!

#3 Use apps


There are a few useful language apps like Duolingo or Memrise where you learn the basics and lots of new words. But my favourite one is Tandem. Don't worry, it's not a dating app ha! You get to chat to real people, native speakers, who will happily help you with their language if you help them with yours too. It's a win-win!

#4 Read blogs & books


Blogs


If you don't know where to find great blogs, just know that most of the time your favourite foreign Instagrammers/Youtubers have blogs too! Go to their blog and read their posts... Reading will also improve and influence your writing - what you learn when reading (grammar rules, punctuation marks etc), you can use it later when writing. So read read read!

Books


Some books are written in two languages: on one page it is written in the language you want to learn and on the other, in your mother tongue. It's perfect when you're just starting out! And same advice I gave for series and movies - you can also read a book you've already read before in your native language, but this time in another language! It will help you remember how sentences are structured and formed. That's what helped me get rid of a lot of mistakes I used to do.



#5 Travel


Go to a country where they speak the language you want to learn and try not to speak in your mother tongue - I know it's hard! You'll feel super nervous the first day, but I promise everything will be fine and you won't be as nervous the next day. Stay in hostels, meet people and talk to locals.

I remember the first time I stayed in a hostel in London... I was sitting on a chair at the hostel bar, sooo afraid that my brain would go blank if people came up to talk to me, or that I wouldn't understand anything, or worse that THEY wouldn't understand me. Eventually, I started talking to some nice guys and guess what? My English wasn't perfect at all, but everything went fine! If you don't understand what people are saying, ask them to repeat. If they don't understand you, try using hand gestures to describe your thoughts or use a translation app on your phone.


#6 Start writing


Start your own blog in the language you want to improve, or write in a journal. This will help your writing skills so much! If you don't feel comfortable writing in a foreign language, some people recommend to write in your native language first and then translate... That could work for you, but actually I wouldn't recommend that. Sentences structures are so different from one language to another. If I wrote my posts in French first and then translated them word for word into English, it wouldn't sound like English at all! You need to stop thinking in your mother tongue and train your brain to think in the language you want to improve, the way native speakers would write, if that makes sense?


#7 Bonus tips


You can:

  • Change the language preference in your phone
  • Change the language on websites too (for example when online shopping you can choose another language)
  • Read your beauty products descriptions, sometimes they're written in several languages

Do you guys speak multiple languages? And if you could speak any foreign language besides your mother tongue, which one would you choose and why? 

I would love to know if you have any other tips!


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