It’s never too late to start learning a language. People say that learning a language is a tough process, however if you’ve got a bit of time on your hands you might find it’s not so tough after all. Even in your busy student life if you’ve got a couple of minutes to spare, you’ll notice just how much you can learn.
Of course, nothing worthwhile is easy. You’ll need to practice most days if not everyday, to retain your knowledge and enhance learning. As a student, you’ll probably have a lot of coffee breaks in between lectures and study sessions. Why not make the most of these break time opportunities to learn a new language?
So take a note from the following eight steps that you can use and incorporate throughout your coffee breaks for some light relief learning. Whatever your preferred language of choice, you’ll find that these activities are fun and easy to follow. What’s more, they can easily be carried out within just a short coffee break.
Are you ready to start learning? Of course, you are! You’re a student.
Let’s get going!
1. Playing games
Whoever said language learning shouldn’t be fun? Your coffee break shouldn’t be about doing something too strenuous. Why not wind down with a short game based on language learning? Most college students certainly have phones (in fact, you’re probably reading this on your smartphone now, am I right?) so browse online App stores for a multitude of free language learning apps. Most of these apps feature fun games that aren’t too taxing and can fit in perfectly with a College coffee Break.
Choose a game that works on your level. If you’re a complete beginner, make sure you download a game that reflects that. A lot of language learning games will feature different sections and levels, helping to break down difficult vocabulary and grammatical mayhem into bite-sized chunks.
2. Blurb writing
As a college student, you’ll probably be doing a lot of writing as it is. However, you always have the opportunity for a few minutes to make a few notes. So that’s exactly what you should do! The next time you’re sitting down in the College shop drinking your mocha or latte, open up the notes app on your phone and jot down a few things about your day. You can turn these notes into a coherent blurb later.
Don’t worry; this shouldn’t be an academic essay. There needn’t be any plan or check for plagiarism here. You won’t even have to show these notes to anybody if you don’t want to. It’s all about enhancing your language learning experience and practicing your writing. By jotting down a series of notes, you’ll get your brain thinking about language syntax and grammar. At the end of the day, you can be proud looking back at the blurb you’ve created. It will do your confidence some good.
3. Podcast power
There are a lot of opportunities to listen to authentic foreign language through podcasts. No matter what your level is, podcasts are easily digestible throughout the day, especially, during your coffee break. There’s always a podcast out there for you featuring native language which you can emulate.
Podcasts provide the perfect opportunity to pick up on intonation and new vocabulary, whilst practicing your listening comprehension. If you’re not familiar with what’s being said, many language learning podcasts also feature transcripts that you can follow. This makes the process a whole lot easier, so keep your eyes peeled for those.
Depending on your level, you may want to brush up on your language learning whilst sipping that coffee and reading an article or two. There is a variety of newspapers available in your target language. For instance, try doing a quick Internet search for “newspaper + Chinese” and you’ll find a multitude of papers out there. Your local student coffee house is the perfect place to read and unwind, so enhance your reading comprehension by flicking through a few articles. As a language learning bonus, you’ll get a better understanding of foreign culture which is particularly beneficial for picking up new vocabulary.
5. Dictionary flicking
Just like every child becomes obsessed with looking up rude words in the dictionary, engage your curiosity by looking up what ordinary things mean in your foreign language dictionary. You’ll be surprised how many foreign language dictionaries that are out there available on your phone for free. A lot of these dictionaries contain options for you to store new words that you’ve learned, so you can review them at any time you see it.
6. Flashy flashcards
Whenever you learn a great new word, you can jot it down on a flash card along with a little picture and description. This will make it really easy for your mind to associate the image with the word in the future. While you’re waiting for that coffee to be made, go through some of these flashcards for a bit of fun revision. You’ll find that in no time you’ll be hooked on the creative element of making these flashcards. Just make sure you’ve got enough pockets to carry them all!
7. Group practice sessions
Language learning can be done solo, however, it’s great to interact with others especially to develop one’s confidence. As you’re a college student, you’ll find that they’ll probably be a lot of group sessions out there for language learning, so book a few of these in during your coffee break. Student life can be a great opportunity for socializing and meeting new people. This brings a lot of opportunities to practice new languages with others. There are a lot of societies in every College based upon language learning, so check a few of these out.
If you want to learn Chinese, and are with others that are trying to do the same, head to the coffee shop and designate a few minutes as Chinese time. If you force yourself to interact in a foreign language, this will get your brain working and you’ll find yourself developing more natural speech. Plus, it can be a lot of fun! All the mistakes and laughs can help remind you not to make the same mistakes again.
8. Short clips and commercials
If you’re with your college friends watching TV the last thing you want to do is purposefully watch commercials. However, if you’ve got a minute to spare on your coffee break, a quick YouTube search of “adverts” or “commercials” + your foreign language of choice will give you short snippets of content to practice listening comprehension. Sooner or later you’ll understand the use of words and phrases in real life context. Because these are short clips, you can watch them over and over until you’re on the money with the meaning.
So there you have it! Eight top tips for you to learn a language during your short coffee break. Try a few of them out and see which one works best for you.
Author Bio: Christina Battons is a creative writer and content strategist from LA. Currently, she writes for various sites. Her posts address the topics about self-education, writing, motivation, professional development. In her spare time, she prefers to read novels and crime thriller stories. Connect with Christina on Twitter