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Revive your Foreign Language Skills for Free

You learned one or more languages some time ago? It doesn’t matter whether you learned this language while being abroad or while you attended a language class in school. There is an easy and free way to refresh and revive your language skills of basically any language.

How I Grew Fluent in English

When I was a child I started to learn English in my 2nd or 3rd grade. With 7 or 8 years of age, we learned first words like sun or rainbow. The English classes advanced with every year. I started watching series and movies in English, I read books in English. And then I ended up taking English as my intensive course during Abitur. After my graduation, I went to Australia for a few months, where I was facing real mother tongue speakers for the first time. When I came back to Germany I enrolled in a study degree which is taught completely in English. During the last years, I spent several weeks in Malta, the United States, and Ireland. Meanwhile, I read more English books than German ones.

When I think back why my English skills improved so tremendously over time it is because of one only reason: practice.

Why I never Grew Fluent in French and Russian

During school, I also had French and Russian classes. I received average grades in French and pretty bad grades in Russian. Today I know why I saw no practicality of these two languages. All my idols spoke English. I never read a single book in those languages. I didn’t even know a single movie in these languages. Also, there was nobody I could practice these languages with.

I never grew fluent in Russian and French because of one reason: lack of practice.

Regain Interest in Foreign Languages

However, today I reclaimed my interest for Russian and French. Since I was a pupil I visited France twice, and Russia once. I started to see more applicability in both languages. Today my girlfriend is a Russian native speaker and I have several Russian speaking friends. I realized that by simply listening to a language you can already learn or at least refresh a lot of that language. Meanwhile, I use Russian every now and then to speak a few sentences with some friends. Last year, I used French while traveling all around France. I realized that the only thing I lacked was the regular practice.

How to Revive your Foreign Language Skills for Free

I thought about different ways how I could come in contact with both languages more frequently. And I came up with a few things you can do for free do refresh your language skills or even learn a new language from scratch:

  • Listen to podcasts and radio
  • Read news and blog articles
  • Watch YouTube videos with subtitles (not in your native language!)

Today I try to listen to French or Russian podcasts whenever I have some free time for it. Instead of turning on the German radio I use a free app to listen to French radio. I use my podcast app to listen to Russian podcasts. I watch documentaries in French for free by using the ARTE app. Every day I try to read a news article in either Russian or French. In the best case, I even copy the article and I read it out loud.

All these techniques are 100% free and they are a great way to practice a language regularly. I think the power of passive learning by simply listening to radio, podcasts, or audio books is highly underrated. I think that passive listening is the most powerful tool you can use to learn or refresh a language. So start today by downloading a radio app of your choice and start listening to a radio program you love in the language you wish to learn.

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