Learning a language is a lot like riding a roller-coaster. Sometimes you go very high but then you can easily plummet down as you struggle with something. Like any other long term process (dieting, going to the gym, learning to play an instrument…) there are moments of euphoria and others when you feel frustrated. I also experienced feelings of frustration and apathy as I learnt a second language, and I would like to give you five tips to help combat them:
1. Watch a film in Spanish and soak up the colour, the sound and the emotions.
Perhaps these three things will help you remember why you are learning Spanish. The subtitles will help you appreciate how much Spanish you already learnt (even if you are watching with English subtitles).
2. Write a diary with your progress.
It doesn’t have to be long descriptions or lengthy paragraphs about your problems like Bridget Jones. You only need to write short sentences like “Today I learnt the future tense” or “Now I’m able to speak about my life using the past tense”. In a couple of months you can re-read it and see how much you have achieved.here
3. Read a Spanish magazine.
Next time you are returning home from Spain pick up three or four magazines at the airport. Try to take something easy, not an economics magazine even if business is your passion. There are plenty of magazines for film, sport or even the Spanish version of Hello. When you lack motivation to study, try to read a few paragraphs and understand the message. It’s very encouraging to understand it!
4. Be constant.
Constancy doesn’t mean doing something every day. It can be three or four times a week. Reserve some time for yourself, switch off your phone and review your Spanish vocabulary list. You can make your homework, take a self-study book or download exercises here. Reading a book can be also a very good exercise.
5. Ask yourself: why do I study Spanish
Sometimes we forget the reasons to do something because we are in the middle of a mechanic process. Perhaps you have forgotten how beautiful the language is, how good it feels when you can talk to Spanish speakers or that beautiful sunset in Granada that you enjoyed five years ago. Stop for a minute, take a deep breath and try to remember them. Do you feel the motivated again?