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Behind the Scenes of Language Learning with Lindsay Dow

Behind the Scenes of Language Learning with Lindsay Dow

Hey y’all, I’m really excited to share a guest post from fellow language lover Lindsay Dow of Lindsay Does Languages. For those of you who haven’t yet become acquainted with Lindsay, she is a language tutor based out of England and an avid traveler. We have been in touch for a while now and I adore her posts as well as her sense of humor. If you’re looking for a great place to start, try:


If you aren’t already following her, I highly suggest visiting her blog.

Now on to our post!

A brief introduction: I am always interested in discovering more about the approach other language learners take with their studies and so I asked Lindsay if she would give us an inside look at her study schedule. Here’s a behind the scenes look at the day in the life of a language learner.

We’re always told that regular is the best code of practise when it comes to language learning. Many go for the idea of regular, but little and often. Others swear by regular, but in huge chunks once a week. For some of us, it’s not always possible to stick by our preferred method. Work, family, friends, the longer-than-usual-today commute, the scrubbing-burnt-pan evening, or, just simply, the I-know-this-is-the-only-time-to-study-but-I’m-really-not-in-the-mood-right-now moments. This happens to everyone. We can’t control everything in our lives. C’est la vie. However, we can figure out a way to fit language around these inevitable everyday moments, and that’s what I want to talk about today.

Today I thought it would be fun to share a typical ‘day in the life’ of moi. Just in terms of language learning – I won’t bore you with the details about deciding which herbal tea I fancy or which episode of The Office I’m on this lunchtime. Just the juicy language bits. Ready? Here we go.

5.30am. Yes. I wake up this early. Before we moved house, Ashley, my partner, had a looong commute and the habit just stuck. Mainly because it gives me morning time to get some languages in.

6.00am. Normally by this time we’ve finished eating breakfast and I’m left drinking my tea (I’m a slow eater). This is when I catch up on my Memrise. I tend to start with the words that need watering, and then, if there’s still some tea left, grow some new ones.

How to Learn Languages with Lindsay Dow | Eurolinguiste

6.10am. Washing up. Ashley makes lunch in the mornings and I wash up. Fair deal. Obviously, to keep on with Memrise at this point would result in a very wet phone and a very unhappy me. So instead I find the latest podcast to listen to in a language of my choice. Right now it’s normally JapanesePod101 or something in Spanish.

6.50am – 7.50am. The world is my language learning oyster. I set aside this hour for myself to focus on my current Open University course in Spanish. It’s supposed to be 14 hours study time per week so an hour each week morning is helping me to stay on track so far.

7.50am. It’s normally light by this time so I pop on my trainers and head out for a run. Also I pop on some running clothes. No one wants to see a crazy lady running around the streets in a dressing gown. I’ll continue the podcast from washing up or find another one. Sometimes, if it’s really cold looking outside, I’ll stay in and find an exercise video on YouTube in a different language. I’ve got a couple of channels saved to my subscription list now to make it easier to find the good ones.

9.00am. Now I work. I work from home on my own so I get to decide what I listen to. When I was younger, I used to work in a flourmill laboratory and the majority ruled for the local commercial radio, which I’m sure had a loop of 10 songs. Good times. I go for TuneIn radio and listen to 3 hours of foreign language radio in the morning unless I have a Skype lesson to teach.

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How to Learn Languages with Lindsay Dow | Eurolinguiste

12.00pm. Lunch is the one hour of the day I don’t surround myself with language. I think it’s important to keep room for other things in your life.

5.00pm – 8.00pm. I finish work at various times each day depending on when my last lesson is. In the time before dinner is ready, I like to check my Memrise again and take my photo for the Instagram Language Challenge, a little thing I run on my blog that you should totally get involved with. Fun!

8.00pm. After dinner, at the moment I normally spend some time working on learning different scripts for my Language Script Challenge. This is just a relaxing side project to keep the part of me that can’t resist other languages happy whilst I focus the majority of my attention on my formal study with Spanish. I find having a language/languages to learn on the side without the pressure is really relaxing because I’m spending my free time doing something I love, which is also productive.

How to Learn Languages with Lindsay Dow | Eurolinguiste

9.00pm. I go to bed. But I don’t sleep. I just give myself an hour without electricity or screens to read an actual physical paper book. Or books. At the moment there’s quite the collection. I try to have a fiction book on the go. But normally, I’ll also read a bit of some language books too. Right now my pile looks a little like this…(photo!)

So there we go! That is how languages fit into my regular working day. Everyone has a different routine, and by sharing this, I’m not claiming I’ve got it right or that you should follow, just to show how it works for me. How does it work for you? Where do languages fit into your daily life? I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments!

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