When you are learning a new language, your motivation is often rooted in appreciation of how people connect and communicate. Language learning is social by definition, and it's clearly most fun when you can practice and learn with others. All good on paper, but what if you don't know any fellow learners?
5 great reasons for finding a learning buddy
Just like a lot of language learners, I'm not averse to a bit of a challenge. Teaching yourself from books is definitely one of those, but my advice would be that you stay away from challenging yourself to learn in isolation. Here are 5 good reasons why sharing the language learning journey with a buddy (someone at your level, a friend or tutor) makes a lot of sense.
- You'll open up
Expressing your feelings is super-beneficial, no matter if it's through talking, drawing, writing or singing. In the context of language learning, this means you will benefit a lot from speaking about the language learning experience. Shared frustrations and worries are often halved when you have the chance to talk to someone who knows what you mean.
- You'll keep going
Giving up is much less of an option when people know about your commitment to really making this work. Yes, this tip is just one of my whole library of tips that work both for diets and language learning :)
- Double the research power
Have you been on the internet these days? It's so full of great resources and media and music and articles that I barely have time to watch Game of Thrones! Even if your chosen buddy isn't one who shares your fluency ambitions, they can help you by keeping an eye out for the best resources, recommended tutors or fellow learners. A network is a powerful thing, and it's so easy to start.
- They can quiz you
There is rarely a thing more efficient than asking a friend to quiz you on your vocabulary lists - they'll be able to engage with your experience with all the pressure taken off, play teacher, set challenges or even grade you.
I can imagine that this works particularly well in married couples - wouldn't you just LOVE to have the licence to educate your other half?! From my own experience, I also love how it enables my partner to help me with things like my Russian, without having to understand any of it himself.
- You might save money
From borrowing dictionaries to taking cheaper private classes with a tutor (like me), you might find that sharing the language learning experience can really save you a lot of money. This doesn't have to be an expensive experience and not every book or course will do the same for all people, but even if you spent no coins at all on it, you might benefit from a shared cost trip to the exciting destination of your dreams!
How to make it work
There's no straightforward recipe for success for learning with a friend or loved one. Some of us are reassured by having fellow learners, others feel particularly shy about it. You might also want to learn at a different pace to your friend, or work best at different times. If you aren't attending classes together, consider texting in the other language or sitting down just for a monthly catch-up. And if you have found someone who is not a learner him- or herself but wants to cheerlead and support you, how about planning that great trip together?
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