Improve Your Proficiency

Watch Movies

#2

Watching TV shows or movies in the language of your host country is a great way to improve your listening skills, plus it is an opportunity to get used to the speed at which people speak.  Don't use English subtitles though.  If you want subtitles, use those that are in the target language. Netflix, Amazon, Hulu--all are good places to find foreign films and television programs. 

#1

READ!

Outside of the classroom, the best thing you can do to increase your language proficiency is to READ! 

Free, voluntary reading (reading for fun), is essential.  Do it everyday!

  • books

  • magazines

  • comic books

  • blogs

  • tweets

  • short stories

  • letters

#3

Change

Your Phone

While you may not be walking around saying “one text message” or “accept friend request” in daily conversations, changing the language of your phone and social media accounts can be helpful.  By switching the language on your Facebook or iPhone, you can learn new works and stop thinking in English so much.

 

You can change the language of your Facebook account by selecting “Settings” and then “Language.” For Twitter, go to “Settings” and then “Account”. For smartphones, visit your settings to do the same.

#4

Listen to Music!

Find popular music and recent hits from the countries where your language is spoken.  Listening to music really helps you learn slang and popular phrases from the culture.  It's also another great trick to keep you thinking in the target language.  A simple Google search will get you jamming in the language. 

#5

Talk to Strangers!

One of the best ways to improve your language skills is to converse with native speakers. They are the only people you can really trust to answer your questions and correct your mistakes. Find people in your community or at student-friendly website that you talk with on a regular basis.  This might be the opposite of the advice you heard as a child, but the strangers are the ones who can help you this time.  Some websites we like for this are WeSpeke and LiveMocha.

#6

Travel!

Ok, we know that traveling the world isn't feasible for everyone, but if you ever have an opportunity to travel or study abroad, take it!  It will not only improve your language skills, but it will change your life.  
 
Everyone should get a passport and keep it current.  Not ony will that ensure you have a passport when it's needed, but being the owner of a passport gives you the constant knowledge that you are a world traveler--just waiting for opportunity to knock!
 

Watch

this video to find lots of things to read!