9 Unexpected Places To Find Real-Life Language Partners

How cool would it be if you could find real life language lovers to meet up with, learn languages together, perhaps even go to class or see a show in another language? Heck yes!

In this article, get few practical tips to help you reach out and connect with your new language squad IRL.

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What Gets Easier When You Study More Languages?

People often ask me how many languages I speak. But recently, I was asked one question that made me think more deeply about why and how learning more languages works for me:

Does it get easier when you are learning more languages?

The short answer is "yes". It definitely does.

Here are the things that are helpful, relevant, and different when you are learning your 7th language.

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How to Learn a Language Using Snapchat (Podcast Episode 45)

Everyone's talking about social media, some people are talking about social media for language learning. In today's podcast episode, get the most specific advice possible as Lindsay and I guide you through the Snapchat app for language learning.

Listen to the episode:

Don't forget to catch the mention of our good friends at Flashsticks, the language learning post-it guys. You can purchase vocabulary post-it notes in 8 languages and get 10% off with the code KERSTIN10.

snapchat language learning

What is Snapchat?

Snapchat is a social media app for any smartphone. It lets you share photos or videos, and your snap only lasts 24 hours unless you make it a "memory".

Of course you can change the menu language, but with such strong visual focus that alone won't teach you a language.

It's designed for camera phones and not available on your desktop computer.

Why is it awesome?

  • It's easy, fast and low-pressure. In other photo social networks, you would be tempted to make every picture stunning and impressive and beautiful. But in Snapchat, you'll just play and learn in the process. What does that mean? No more shyness, no more reasons to avoid speaking!
  • It allows you to stitch things together into a story, so you can share a 5-second snap, or go ahead and combine several videos to show how you speak a foreign language.
  • For language learning, the new Memories feature is a way to track your progress. Record yourself speaking today, save the memory, and try the same thing in a month. You'll be surprised at your own progress!

How to Get The Most Out of This For Languages

You may have to set up a little system in order to get the most out of this, for example an evening review or a regular vocab routine.

1. Document
Lindsay studies every morning and documents her mistakes on Snapchat, while I am more spontaneous and use the system to show and share how languages pop up in my day.

2. Check and Correct Errors
One other idea is to practice what you want to practice, then check back and correct the errors that you made. We go into detail about how important it is not just to make the mistakes, but to correct the mistakes so that you can get better.

3. Make Yourself a Vocab Resource
As you go through your day, why not take pictures of all you see around you and build yourself a little daily vocab resource? You can save the story in Memories at the end of the day, or do an evening review to add the words to your vocabulary bank.

Great Accounts to Follow (Click for the Snapcodes)

Are You a Snapchat User?

If you use Snapchat for language learning (or not), leave us a comment and share your usernames and snapcodes.

Thank you guys so much for being podcast listeners, chatting to us on twitter (I'm @kerstinhammes and Lindsay is @ldlanguages) and making your voices heard!

Why Destination PR can boost language learning and studying abroad alike

Okay, so here is a question for you:

Why are you learning a foreign language?

Think about it for a second.

Got something?

Is it travel-related?

Let's hope so! Travelling truly is one of the great benefits that can come out of language learning. You all know what I mean - the culture-specific words, the calendar events, the different ways a conversation will go. Experiencing life abroad is a dream for so many of us. The dream contains new beginnings, promises of success and amazing experiences. So with that in mind, what are we supposed to make out of this statistic?

only20percent.jpg

Why wouldn't you do it?

Studying abroad has excellent benefits, such as improved language skills, employability and a whole new outlook on your life and career. So what's holding students back? Of course, we can partly blame this on a lack of language skills among university students. Some students might just not find themselves ready to spend a lot of time abroad, and others still will hesitate because it's not that cheap to spend a year abroad. (Phew, thank the EU for Erasmus grants!).

Illustrate the destination and you'll stay motivated for longer.

Illustrate the destination and you'll stay motivated for longer.

The role of the destination

In the study, this particular fact caught my eye: 29 per cent of UK students considering studying overseas selected the US as their first choice destination. Of course the ties between institutions in the US and the UK are strong and the language barrier is as low as it can be. But is there another factor at work?

I certainly think so. There is one fact that's equally true for studying abroad and language learning: We need more destination PR! In a world of carrying the internet in your handbag, it's not good enough to hope the saga of foreign lands will kick anyone into action. [Click to tweet this]

Secrets of ongoing motivation

I worked in marketing for ages and I learnt that the most important question for promoting something is "Why?". Just as with role models, destinations need to become more enticing and more obvious so that we can really feel we're setting our sights on something. Every language learner needs a reason to persevere when the dip hits. Weathering that is one of the keys to success, and I believe that learning more about the destination will keep you going.

In terms of action and practice, this means surrounding yourself with what you find interesting about the place and the people. Tourist brochures, films and radio stations are great - and of course native speaker friends will be even better!

If we're supposed to become true global citizens and boost numbers of language learners and students studying abroad, we will have to put as much into destination PR as we can.

Some interesting articles on this topic:
http://dailyinfographic.com/the-roi-of-studying-abroad-infographic
http://ihe.britishcouncil.org/educationintelligence/broadening-horizons