The following post is my own version of Jarvis1000’s post on making time for language learning. I was really inspired by his post so I wanted to share it with my own experience and how I work language study into my day to day life.
As you might or might not know, I have both a full time job and a full time music career and so the time I can spend studying language is sometimes limited. Often, at the end of a full nine hour work day, one of the last things I want to do is study or keep working (or practicing 🙁 ), so finding time to dedicate to language learning isn’t always easy. Learning another language has to be something you really want because it does take a huge investment. Language-learning as an adult isn’t impossible though, and if it’s something you want to do, I really encourage you to do it.
As I mentioned before, I recently read a post by Jarvis1000 from I want 2 speak Thai that inspired me to find and implement new ways to study language. With this new schedule, I no longer have the excuse that I don’t have time for language study and my schedule is far more balanced.
Here’s how I manage to make time for language study (and in result, more music practice):
1. Listen to foreign language podcasts and lectures during my morning commute. Depending on where I am coming from and traffic, my morning commute can take me anywhere from 20 minutes to two hours. That’s quite a bit of time I can dedicate to listening and practicing the languages I am studying. I used to spend this time listening to the radio and catching up on news, but I also check the news during work as part of my job, so listening to the radio can be somewhat redundant. By eliminating the radio in the morning, I gain a lot of study time. Enough, in fact, that if I don’t have time later in the day to study, I am okay.
As a side note, I’m always looking for new podcasts, so if you have any suggestions, feel free to let me know. Sometimes I also like to hold conversations with myself (like Travis), practicing potential conversations that I might have with someone in the future. When I do this, it becomes apparent which words I need to learn and it also forces me to stretch my imagination when putting words together to be able to express myself.
2. Utilizing my breaks at work to study or read in a foreign language. I was already doing this on occasion, but not consistently. If I study foreign languages during my lunch break, I get an hour of additional language study in. By 1pm, I already have at least two hours of studying under my belt which is often more than I usually accomplish in several days. This also opens up my evening schedule to catch up on other tasks like blogging, crafting, practicing my saxophone (hooray), exercising, cooking and composing.
3. The commute back home. I usually spend the drive back home listening to music. If I add foreign language music into my playlist, I’m getting a different medium of practice and immersion and a nice way to break up my study schedule. That’s another 20 minutes to 2 hours of study time.
4. Weekend study breaks and language exchanges. My husband is super awesome and he let’s me call friends in Europe early Saturday mornings so I can practice speaking the languages I am learning. He spends the time talking to our family in France. I often hear him explaining why I’m not on the phone and it’s funny how none of them understand why I’m learning other languages, but they do still support me. My parents are actually champs at this – my dad is notorious for getting on my case about practicing the languages I’m learning. I love him all the more for it.
5. I also sometimes study language for fun anywhere from 15 minutes to hours at a time. It’s sporadic and inconsistent which is why I’m all the more glad I’ve adopted Travis’s methods.
By implementing these small changes as suggested by Jarvis1000, I can increase my language study time while freeing up my evening and weekend schedule to do other things or continue my studies if I like.
How do you fit language study into your schedule? Is there a language you would like to learn, but haven’t found the time to do so?
For more language learning tips like this, check out my collection of articles on Pinterest!
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My name is Shannon Kennedy and I'm the language lover, traveler, and foodie behind Eurolinguiste. I'm also the Resident Polyglot at Drops and the Head Coach of the Fluent in 3 Months Challenge.