It takes a lot of hard work and determination to learn a foreign language. However, if the new language is not exercised on a regular basis, it is very easy to forget what was learned. The following are some tips for keeping your foreign language skills fresh.
1. Look for foreign news sources
You can sharpen your foreign language skills while keeping updated with the latest happenings internationally. One of the best ways of doing this is by reading newspapers and magazines from other countries online. Alternatively, you could stream foreign video or radio broadcasts.
2. Read foreign books
Reading is a very effective way of honing language skills. Take time frequently to read books that have been published in your adopted language. It would be advisable to start with translations of popular books (such as Harry Potter) before moving on to the unfamiliar.
3. Listen to international music
4. Watch foreign movies
Take time to watch movies filmed in your adopted language. Besides honing your language skills, movies also offer the opportunity of learning about the culture of other countries.
5. Interact online with native speakers
Interacting with media from foreign countries is a very effective way of keeping your language skills fresh. However, connecting directly with a native speaker is a better option. There are many websites which allow you to connect with foreigners through message boards, chat rooms and teleconferencing. Some of the online communities you could consider include Live Mocha, Shared Talk, LingQ and MyLanguageExchange.
6. Meet up with people
Besides virtual interaction, it would also be advisable to have face-to-face meetings with other foreign language speakers. Visit local establishments where your adopted language is spoken to practice your skills. It would also be advisable to join a language club where you can interact with like-minded language learners. If there is no such club in your area, you could think of launching one yourself.
7. Sign up as an ESL tutor
ESL (English as a Second Language) tutors are highly sought after, particularly in places that have an influx of non-English speakers. Serving as an English teacher in a foreign country will give you the opportunity to interact directly with native speakers, thus developing proficiency in your second language.
8. Take an immersion course
One of the best ways of improving your language proficiency is by taking an immersion course. This is a course where the primary medium of instruction is your second language. It could be a course in math, social studies, science or any other discipline.
Keeping your foreign language skills fresh is not easy, especially if you live in a country with few native speakers. Therefore, it would be advisable to occasionally revisit the resources you used when learning the language for the first time. You could also explore free online resources from sites such as Open Culture, BBC Languages and Mango Languages.