If you’re like me, you're ambitious and hard-working, which can make language learning or “language improving” seem like another task on your to-do list. But enjoying the process is an important part of learning – and life. If improving your English has become an item on your to-do list, then it’s time to fall in love with language learning again.
Here are 5 ways you can learn to love again!
1. Choose your favorite hobby or interest and learn the vocabulary that goes along with it. Being able to easily explain something that is important to you is guaranteed to bring you joy. For example, I had a client once who was into cars. Imagine being able to explain cars in a second language. Very satisfying!
2. Find a conversation partner who wants to practice English in real-time. This has been a game-changer for me. I recently hired a German conversation partner that I meet with once a week to improve my German. We have so much fun together, especially when I make mistakes! I look forward to my hour together with her each week.
3. Watch a funny movie in the language you are learning. For example, there are a ton of comedies in English. Compare and contrast American humor with the humor from your native culture. Over the holidays, my daughter and I watched Elf with comedian Will Ferrell. My daughter loved it! It’s a hard movie not to like. But there are plenty of others out there that might tickle your funny bone.
4. Read an English book from your favorite genre. For example, I love mysteries in English, so I started reading them in German to improve my vocabulary. I might have to look up a few words as I go, but I enjoy the content so much.
5. Gamify it! Gamification is the word for making learning into a game. Our brains enjoy the “feel good” chemicals that come when we feel like we are winning. Try a language learning app with games or a website like Quizlet with built-in vocabulary games. Or, create your own “game” by rewarding yourself at milestones that you set up yourself. Who doesn’t like to win?
Whatever you decide to do, remember that your brain works best when you're enjoying the process. Joy and curiosity fuel language acquisition. It’s okay to be hard-working and ambitious, but remember to have fun, too!