It's entirely possible to plateau at an intermediate level even after you have moved to a country. If you've got enough language to chat to people and fill in forms, that doesn't mean you're approaching "Mastery" yet but it does mean you're okay. So in order to improve ever more, you need to put in the work, set new goals and engage in every single one of listening, reading, speaking and writing, vocabulary, and grammar.
Turns out that you're never ever done - Gareth for example has just passed the C1 German exam and he says he has endless scope for improvement.
Enjoy the journey, stop for a breather whenever you feel like it and keep going.
Fluency - No One Cares!
Tristan sums this up with a wonderful sentence: Don't worry about getting fluent. Worry about getting better.
Everyone is always looking for a label, it could be "fluent" or "C1" or "conversational". But at the end of the day, you're never really done and get closer and more comfortable.
You Need Humility
Having areas of weakness in your language is not a sign that you are weak overall, but it's a valuable hint.
Gareth highlights that your potential for making errors gets bigger as you improve, so you'll need to keep aware that it will get ever more difficult to find and revise the most advanced grammar points. He recommends you work with textbooks, grammar exercises and advanced tutors.
Links and Resources Mentioned In This Episode
Thanks for our good friends at Flashsticks for their ongoing support of the Creative Language Learning Podcast. They have a free app, awesome vocab post-its, and more.