Technology has given us big tools for almost everything, and one of those things is practicing a foreign language for free. How? The response is actually quite simple: through internet and friends. Being able to access tons of free information is now a possibility and it´s there to be taken, in the best possible way.
Here is a list with different ways to get it:
Use social media: Yes, get your Twitter and Facebook profiles back to a good use. Did you know that the most used language on Twitter (at least by 2013) was English, followed by Japanese and then Spanish?. So start tweeting again, use hashtags, follow people and you could find somebody replying to your tweets and starting a conversation.
In Facebook you can join any club there is to offer (literally they´re thousands) by simply sending a request. Success is achieved by finding the right group for you; try using keywords such as “English, Language, Conversation, French” or any other word related to the language in hand.
Even though it’s not a social network, check the news every now and then. We recommend BBCNews, CNN and, if you’re more into the viral type of content, go to Buzzfeed: they have a great set of easy-to-read articles and quizzes for your entertainment.
Read and listen online: Even though practicing a language is more than making sense to words written on paper, it’s essential to keep in touch with vocabulary and grammar. Thus, reading will improve your text comprehension, and enhance your lexis with words and expressions you didn’t know before.
You may search for specifics books on Google and find them in pdf format, or visit specific websites dedicated to the divulgation of literature for free. Even if reading isn’t your thing, you can still find a great alternative to it, and that is by listening to audiobooks available on various sites like Spotify or Youtube.
Identify objects with the “name game”: It’s actually harder than it seems. This works by calling every single object that you use (for a specific period) by their name in the other language you’re practicing. For instance, you could call your car voiture (French) or your window janela (Portuguese).
Another way to try this is by making a meal with a recipe you find on the internet written in its original language. This is very practical and can change the way you prepare delicious dishes, because it wouldn’t be the same making a Schwarzwälder Kirsch (Black forest cake) with a recipe taken from a Vietnamese page than from a German site.
Get support from your college/university: Most studying centers have language departments that offer a variety of courses and activities related to foreign languages. Most of them would be free, but it depends on where you study.
For instance, here at the UCAB we have the Centro para el Desarrollo de Lenguas Extranjeras (CDLE). Each semester the center schedule conversation groups and courses related to scholastic or work topics, mainly in English, yet with other languages such as French or German on their program.
Talk to friends who know the language you want to practice: There’s always that “one” friend who speaks two or three languages; try talking to them because that could help you both. They reinforce their knowledge and you get a free lesson. Besides, it must be nice having a friend teaching you a language so that, once you’ve learnt it, both of you can talk in that specific idiom and feel great about it.
As you can see, practicing a foreign language doesn’t take a great deal of effort if you incorporate it into your day to day life and if you embrace it as a new way to see the world.
So there are no excuses for bringing yourself down. There’s always a way to do anything you want, you just have to go out and get it (or download it).
Following the «learn anywhere» philosophy, the Centro para el Desarrollo de Lenguas Extranjeras at the UCAB extends an invitation for their upcoming event “Segundo Encuentro Limitless”. Prepare to listen and talk with experts about different topics in various languages such as French and English.
This event will take place on May 17th, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Centro Cultural Padre Carlos Guillermo Plaza (New Library Building). *
*This article is available in spanish. You can read it by clicking here: «Cinco maneras gratuitas de practicar un idioma extranjero»