9 ways to boost your language skills in your city on the go​

1, The Ads Consumer

Wherever you go, look around. There are tons of ads surrounding us basically every moment of every day. Try translating those ads in your head. I tried it the other day when I was preparing for my Spanish exam and it was great! The best part is, the ads repeat - you see them multiple times during one tube/bus ride, but then the next day, there's always something new. Pure gold!

2, The Subtle Stalker

If you are not your typical urban citizen who is at his happiest when he can ignore - or pretend to ignore - every single person surrounding him… Take advantage of your headphones-free ears and use them. There are people around you who speak your target language. And for educational purposes, it's ok if you become a kind of a stalker. For a little bit. Do not follow them home (without at least talking to them first)

3, The Helpful Local

Keep an eye out for lost tourists speaking your target language. If you are not sure what language they speak… just stop for a second and pretend you're scrolling down your Instagram feed while listening ;) And then, duh, help them out. In their language. Challenging? Maybe! But whatever directions you give them, no matter how many mistakes you make, I guarantee that after that you will feel awesome.

4, The Ear Enthusiast 

This is one of the obvious ones: download music in your target language. But really listen to it. It's called active listening. It cannot really be done for long periods of time but every now and then - really focus. It will pay off. I promise. And the same thing goes to podcasts, although I have never really been much of a podcast fan. To each his own though. To each his own.

 

5, The Daydreamer

A call for all the daydreamers out there! Oh yeah, I see you...missing your stop and hastily getting off at the next one ;) …well, I am the same. So all those tiny little scenarios you play in your head? Play them in your target language. Trust me, it will make you feel the progress almost physically.

6, The Bookworm

Hey, this is an easy one: read a book. In your target language. Preferably one of your favourites that you have read before - or at least seen the movie.

7, The Observer

There are people surrounding us all the time (ugh, right) - once on a tube with my mum, just when I was pulling out my headphones to pretend I wasn't even a citizen of this planet yet again, my mum said, goofily: “Hey...let's watch people.” Apparently, there's a game where you watch people and try to guess the relationships between them and what their life stories are. Now see? Do that in your target language(in your head, do not tell them! That doesn't end well). Fair warning: there might be some outbursts at some point.

8, The Definer

Every once in a while, choose an object (a building, tree, rails, bank, roof, hat, shop…) and try defining it in your head in your target language - even if you know how to say that specific word. It will help you develop your fluency.

9, The Repeater 

We do usually have to interact with people when out and about in the city. Why would you use a textbook when you can get inspired by your daily life. When those little exchanges are over, simply picture them in your head again - in your target language. In the very least, it will point you in the right direction in terms of which parts of the language you should keep practising.

- Something Extra - 

This one is so obvious I did not even include it in the list because it did not feel right. But still...I should mention it. Here goes: Language learning apps are a great thing to do on your commute or whenever you have a second. It is definitely not enough to learn to speak your language fluently but it will definitely bring you closer. The more (and I mean frequency, not duration or intensity) you expose your brain to your target language, the quicker you can acquire it.

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