How to Maintain a Foreign Language During Quarantine

This year has brought a series of unexpected challenges with seemingly no end in sight as we all adjust to a new normal while staying home, but that doesn’t mean that you should let your new found languages skills go to waste. After living in Western Europe last year only to return to the States just in time for the pandemic, I worried about how my language skills would suffer. While the best way to keep up with a foreign language will always be living in a country that speaks that language, there are many ways that you can mimic that degree of immersion in your own home.

Here’s how you can maintain a foreign language during quarantine.

1. Video Chat Your International Friends

What better way to practice your language skills than by chatting with your multilingual friends from around the world. If you’re fortunate enough to have studied or traveled abroad, then you probably formed friendships with some of the locals during your time there. Take advantage of the range of video chat platforms like Zoom to catch up with your old friends and stay connected in another language.

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2. Watch International Films and Series

If you’re like most of us, then you’ve probably spent more time than you’d like to admit binge watching your favorite series on Netflix or Hulu. Since you’re already sitting on the couch, why not check out one of the popular films or series from another country? You’re bound to discover some amazing content that will not only help you with your language skills but also with your cultural understanding.

3. Listen to Music and Podcasts

My favorite way to keep up with my second language is listening to songs by Spanish-speaking artists. With streaming services like Spotify and Pandora, you can find international artists in any music genre. If you’re more interested in podcasts than music, then you can an array of content from comedy to lifestyle and health to suit your taste.

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4. Read Blogs and Books

If you’re not a self-proclaimed bookworm, then blogs might be the next best thing. While sitting down with a good book is an excellent way to expand your vocabulary and practice following a story, an online article or blog post can help you maintain your reading skills too. Discover new bloggers and journalists online while browsing for advice and the latest news.

5. Keep a Journal

I highly recommend keeping a daily journal if you really want to maintain your language skills. Whether long or short, a daily entry of your thoughts using the new vocabulary you learned while chatting with a friend online or listening to a new song will help you put what you learn into practice. Once you start thinking and living in another language, then you’ll find yourself becoming fluent in no time.

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What do you do to maintain your language skills in between travel? Are there other ways that help you stay fluent? Do you use a language app or follow certain celebrities? Let me know in the comment section below.

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