This blog was written by Kaitlyn Smith, our Campus Ambassador at Drexel University. She is a Communications major with an emphasis in Public Relations. You can follow her on twitter: @Kaitlyn_Perez.
Learning a second language can be tough. There is so much to learn and without practice all can be forgotten. Studying in Barcelona has helped me learn Spanish way more quickly and efficiently than I ever have in my college classes. While I do attend classes at Barcelona International College I think the hands on experience out side of the classroom has been much more helpful. Communicating with waiters, store clerks, taxi drivers, building staff and pedestrians has challenged me to actually utilize and extend my vocabulary in a way I was never able to in the classroom. However, since I wont be studying abroad forever, I’ve come up with a few ways to incorporate Spanish in to my everyday life.
Magazines are a great way to broaden your knowledge of another language and culture. They also teach you words that might not be covered in the classroom and are specialized so you can learn words you would actually use in a conversation. I love fashion magazines and read them whenever I have free time. Reading a Spanish magazine (usually just a Spanish version of Vogue or Glamour) has taught me the words I would actually use but never learned in the classroom. I always keep a dictionary and highlighter nearby to highlight and define anything I don’t understand.
Watch your favorite tv shows or movies in whatever language you are trying to learn. As I was flipping through the channels on the TV in my apartment I came across Spanish voiceover of How I Met Your Mother, one of my favorite TV shows. Since I already knew the story line and characters it was much easier to follow than a show that I didn’t know. This also helps with learning the correct pronunciation of words and phrases.
Switch your search engine to whatever language you want to learn. When I arrived in Barcelona, Google automatically changed to Spanish. At first, I was confused, but then I realized it how helpful it was. Actually having to figure out the meaning of something always helps me gain a greater knowledge of it.