When I started learning Spanish and Italian from scratch, I always knew it would be a long and tough process. I knew it would require some serious dedication and a lot of perseverance, yet despite knowing that these hurdles existed, it always shocked me how difficult it could be at times. As much as it pains me to say, I did lose motivation at times.
Although sometimes I felt low, there was always something that pulled me out of my slump to continue to learn that language, and eventually, I reaped the rewards and now I can speak three different languages! So, if you ever feel as if you want to give up, please don’t! Follow these simple steps and watch your motivation fall back into place.
Find a buddy. The first thing I would say is to try to find a buddy who speaks the language you want to learn so that you can practise speaking with them. Most universities have tandem schemes where you can meet international students. This is an easy way to find a buddy quickly. If you are not at university, I would recommend downloading the app “Tandem” as everyone on that app is there for the same reason: to learn a language, so you will certainly find someone to practise with there.
Set realistic goals. One reason why I was unable to stay motivated at times when language learning is because I used to set unachievable goals; if by the end of the day, I hadn’t achieved those goals, I would feel rather dissatisfied. What I did to tackle this was set smaller, achievable goals so that I could celebrate a small but successful milestone. This way, you will be able to see your progress and hence, feel a sense of accomplishment with each achievement.
Go travelling! If you have the funds and the time for it, then you should certainly go travelling. As if there isn’t a better excuse to go travelling than to learn a language! When travelling, you get the opportunity to visit exciting places and experience things you don’t normally get to experience at home. This, therefore, will definitely act as an incentive for you to continue learning the language so that you can immerse yourself in the country’s culture as much as possible.
Remember why you wanted to learn a language in the first place. For me, I’d always wanted to learn a language so that I could meet new people and make new friends whenever I went on holiday abroad. I also had relatives in Italy whom I always wanted to be able to communicate with. Take that desire that made you want to learn a new language in the first place and use it to motivate yourself once again.
Have fun with it! Learning a language doesn’t have to be all grammar and vocab. Have fun with it a little. Incorporate language learning with things you love. Watch films, read books, or listen to your favourite songs in the target language. If you have a tandem buddy, go for brunch or a coffee with them, meet up and do fun things with them whilst speaking to each other.
Just remember, everyone has hit a mental block when language learning at one point. Apply the above things and hopefully, you will be able to stay motivated too!
About The Author: Isabella is an Olea Ambassador (Team 1.0, March - Sept 2023) and is currently pursuing a BA in Modern Languages (Spanish and Italian) with Business Management at the University of Birmingham.