Those who have been following my three weeks in Bogota are well aware that one of my main motivators for choosing Colombia was to practice my Spanish. For the last several months I’ve been taking Spanish lessons in Manhattan, struggling to break free of my shy attitude about real-live practice. However, due to a few glitches in my plan, most of my studying has been on my own.
Since I’m trying to learn a foreign language, Kaplan’s current blogger competition sparked my attention. They are interested in knowing our view on the best tips and tricks for learning English. While I pretty much have the English language down, many of the same principles can be applied to any foreign language.
The Best Way to Learn English
In my opinion, immersion is the best way to learn a language. However, I think that in order to grasp new concepts one needs to understand basic vocabulary and grammar structure. This can be done easily via in-person classes, online schools or even YouTube videos. I chose to sign up for actual classes because I knew that I needed to be forced to speak Spanish aloud rather than mumbling words to myself. Others are more prone to learning online so it definitely varies from person to person.
The Best place to learn English
While I have several friends who have learned to speak English in New York City, I recommend a more neutral location. New Yorkers speak fast and locals are either NYC natives or foreigners, meaning that the amount of English accents one hears on a daily basis might overwhelm. While it’s important to understand different accents, learning and understanding the most standard accent will most likely make the process easier. I recommend Washington, DC or perhaps scenic Colorado.
TV, Films, Music and Video games
I’m not huge into video games and I don’t own a television but I do think that these media outlets can greatly help a language learner grasp new vocabulary and concepts. For me, I have more difficulty understanding straight audio but if I can actually see a person’s mouth and even better, a theatrical way of expressing these words, this is extremely helpful. I’m also a big fan of foreign films with subtitles.
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