Make The Most of Your Summer Downtime

July 19, 2020

As the summer holiday season approaches, you may find you’ve got some extra time on your hands. That means you can make some serious progress toward your language-learning goals, but it doesn’t mean you need to spend the summer poring over books and dry learning material. Here are a few ways you can enjoy your summer while making the most out of all that free time.

First and foremost for any learner, it’s critical to establish a solid foundational understanding of a given language. You’ll need a strong understanding of vocabulary, grammar, and sentence structuring — that can be difficult to achieve while you’re off chasing summer adventures. Enter WordDive. A powerful learning tool like WordDive will help you develop those critical skills right from the palm of your hand, so that wherever you’re headed this summer, and whatever you’re up to, you still have a great learning experience without limitations.

WordDive was designed by language experts to get you truly fluent, as quickly and efficiently as possible. Studying according to your WordDive language plan is perhaps the most useful method of on-the-go learning, and luckily, also quite easy and fun. As you progress through your lessons, you’ll develop those critical foundational skills, and be ready to add other methods to your learning toolkit to speed up your progress.

Exploring Language Through Entertainment

Once you’ve developed a foundation of skills with WordDive, you’ll be able to consume entertainment in the language you’re studying so you can learn and have fun in the process. You may be surprised to find that this is actually a great way to augment your learning plan and speed up achieving fluency — even if you only consume media passively. So how do you make the most of it? We recommend that you watch your favorite streaming service. Yes, really! 

Watching programming in the language you’re learning will help you to learn as you hear native speakers discussing at a conversational pace. It will also help you to learn new words and phrases as you hear them with added context from the program you’re watching. If you turn on closed captions or subtitles, you can even get added assistance for any words or phrases that are too difficult for you to understand. If you’re up for a challenge, though, turn off the subtitles to activate hard mode! 

If you’re not one for watching television on your summer holiday, or you want to experience your chosen culture in ways beyond the cinematic, there are numerous other effective ways to learn through entertainment and media. Informative or entertaining podcasts can be a bit difficult in a language you’re learning, but they can also be incredible tools for improving your fluency while lounging in a hammock or on the beach. Choose a podcast on a familiar subject in the language you’re studying, and challenge yourself to try to put what you’ve learned to the test. If you find that the flow of conversation is a bit too fast for you at first, many podcatchers or media playback applications will allow you to slow down audio a bit so you can focus. 75% speed (a widely available option) is a great middle-ground for language learners.

If you’re looking for even deeper immersion in the language you’re learning, kick up your feet and try a relaxing language bath. You can further dive into your language studies by listening to music or reading a local newspaper in your study language. Listening to summer hits with a set of lyrics handy can help you to understand, and lyrics from a service like Genius (which explains the artist’s meaning behind the music) help you gain a richer understanding of the nuances of the words you’re hearing. Google Translate can often help you if you come across words you don’t know or any sentences that you can’t yet understand, in both lyrics and news articles.

Find a Study Partner

While you can learn a lot from pre-recorded material, you’ll eventually yearn to put what you’ve learned into action. A study buddy is a great solution. Spending your summer with a friend practicing your language skills isn’t just a great time, it’s also incredible for the learning process. If you don’t have a study buddy handy, there are many resources online that will help to pair you with someone who is learning the same language as you, or even a native speaker who is trying to learn your language. Learning together by practicing over video chat can be an incredibly helpful method that doesn’t require you to show up to a language course right in the middle of your summer trip. It may also help you to understand a regional dialect, or more importantly, truly explore a culture through the perspectives of your learning partner.

If you don’t know any native speakers, or anyone else studying the same language, you can find potential speaking partners through sites like Reddit, where user-generated communities such as Language_Exchange have sprung up, and have grown to over 45,000 individuals who are looking for a language practice partner. Of course, you should practice internet safety best practices when discussing or video chatting with anyone online, but this can be a great resource for the intrepid language learner.

Patience and a Good Mental Attitude

Finally, one invaluable learning resource is a positive mental attitude. During those leisurely vacation days, some feel an added pressure to be productive — this can be a helpful driver, but it’s also necessary to remind yourself to relax. A tired mind isn’t as effective at learning, and burning yourself out by pushing yourself too hard will be detrimental to your learning process (and a real bummer during the summer season). You may have to adjust your pace or change your learning goals to reflect the added downtime. That’s fine! Be sure to give yourself plenty of time for relaxation, contemplation, and other things in life this summer. Even if you need to take a short break to fully enjoy your vacation, you can be back to learning with the three methods listed above in no time.

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