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Fun way to learn a language on summer break

As we begin the month of July, many of you are either taking a summer language break or waiting for your next class to start. From the teacher’s perspective, there is nothing better than a student who comes from vacation relaxed and motivated to hop back on the language learning train. On the other hand, there is nothing worse than a student who comes back stressed because they forgot everything.

This begs the questions: how can you prevent back-to-school stress? how do you come back after your break recharged and ready go?

Here are 3 tips that will help you stay on top of your language studies and sleep easy before resuming your class.

1. Be strategic with your review.
Oh my, how many times in my teaching career have I heard my student say on the last class before summer, “I am going to review E-V-E-R-Y lesson that you taught me. With this break, I will finally have time to review these in detail.” I just grin and say, “That’s awesome. Don’t put too much on your shoulders though.”
Flashing forward to the first day of fall class, I was not surprised to hear my student anxiously admit that he did not have time to review and was sorry because he forgot a lot. My advice? Set realistic objectives. If you have a 9-5 job, three kids and one international holiday, how realistic is it to expect that you will be able to lock yourself in a room for 3 hours/week and review everything? Not very. Instead, be strategic about how you allocate your review time. For example, focus more review time on areas that you are weak in and that that you think you have a higher chance of forgetting over the break.

2. It’s a B-R-E-A-K. Do something fun.
Really, how excited do you get at the prospect of going through perfect and imperfect verbs or prepositions on your day off? Huh. However, languages can be fun even when you study alone. Get a simplified language version of your favorite book in the language you are studying. Check out new international series on Netflix, Amazon, or HBO. Go to a restaurant where they speak the language. Exchange a postcard in a different language with your teacher or classmate. Do you like singing? Find a new artist and learn lyrics of new songs. Talk to your teacher and give yourself a project that interests you and that you can work on during the summer. I once was working on French media, and I chose current events and looked at how different newspapers were covering stories. It was a great fun and even after the project was finished, I kept reading the news. Not a huge fan of reading? Take a culinary course on the cuisine of the language you are studying and make your notes in the target language (intermediate) or write down ingredients that you need (elementary) in your cookbook. And, surprisingly, you will come across the grammar anyway, but in a fun way that will not give you a headache.

3. Set up your next class.
Before your course is finished, know when your next class starts. Mark it on your calendar and create a reminder a week in advance. Doing this will give you some time to brush up on what you learned last semester such as those case endings you’ve been avoiding all Summer. The week before class is your time to review material so you can impress your teacher at least a little bit. At the very least, you can review your notes and brush up on vocabulary. In addition, awareness of your next class will mentally prepare you to think like a student and plan out your fall routine.

Last but not least, use your time off as a chance to reflect on your language learning goals. Time away from learning can be the best time to reflect on how much you’ve accomplished and how much you desire to learn moving forward.

It’s normal that you will forget some words, and your teacher expects nothing less. So, when the time comes to restart your language learning, don’t stress – be ready and excited!

ICLS has provided language training since 1966. Our clients include individuals, government agencies such as the FBI, USAID, the Foreign Service Institute, and organizations such as the Pan American Health Organization, the IMF, and the World Bank, to name a few.  With over 80 languages to choose from, a corps of highly skilled and trained language teachers, and in-house curricula, your language learning journey is off to a great start when choosing ICLS. Explore our foreign language classes to find a program best suited to your needs. We offer both private and group language classes.

Author: Eliska Prushankin

ICLS Teacher

Eliska is teaching Slovak and Czech at ICLS. Growing up in a family full of teachers, she fell in love with teaching at an early age. Teaching languages allows her to connect with people from different countries, something that she treasures. 

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