Everyone appreciates feedback. We look for approval when doing challenging tasks and we seek encouragement whenever we succeed in achieving a goal. Learning a second language is an important and long term goal. It is impossible to master Russian in a single weekend. Certainly we can learn vocabulary and key phrases in two days but mastery of a language does not happen overnight.
In those hours when we worry about making progress we may consider quitting our language studies. This happens when we feel we are not making any improvement to our skills. The power of habit is helpful in studying a language. Convincing our minds to stick with an activity when we have doubts is very hard. That is where other people can help.
Studying alone can be an isolating experience. Recent studies have shown that being alone for long periods of time can affect out health. In terms of staving off feelings of loneliness and preventing dementia, socialising is the number one source of good mental health.
Learning a second language is also known to be a powerful form of brain exercise. As the brain is a muscle, like any other in the body, it needs constant activity to keep it in shape. Language learning calls upon memory ability all the time, this helps us to recall information faster and more effectively.
When you pair up socialising and learning a language, you can future proof your brain for success and stave off illness. This is where joining a language learning community is essential. A popular phrase in England is 'It's not what you know, it's who you know.' If you consider times in your life when you succeeded, you may remember you were triumphant due to the help of a friend or family member. If you are alone and studying hard, but having doubts, then it may be time to reach out to someone for help.
See The World As A Positive Place
With the internet we are now connected to even the most remote regions of the Earth. People and places once off limits to only the most experienced explorers are now easy to interact with. No matter how unique or little known a language is, there will be another person on the internet who can help you to learn it.
If you are part of a language learning community you will begin to see the world through fresh eyes. You will also know what is going on in other countries from the people who actually live there.
Television new can often be biased and limited when showing us other countries. In a language learning community you will hear first hand from the inhabitants what is actually happening in their country. With this inside knowledge you will be well informed, more understanding, and less afraid of travelling.
A Gateway To Paradise
Life is about making contacts. Social contacts are not easily developed into lifelong friendships. Relationships in particular take a long time. To trust people we like to feel we know them well, and that they have earned our trust over time.
A language learning community can help you take the first step in building social contacts. By connecting with native speakers, and professional teachers, you can begin to slowly build relationships over time. In terms of language learning, regular practice can enable you to improve in your target language whilst getting to know your friend or teacher better.
Further down the road, if you visit the country whose language you are learning, your contact may be able to meet with you or provide advice to make your journey smoother.
As part of a language learning community you will be better informed as to how to travel. With native insider knowledge you can literally shave hundreds of dollars off the cost of a journey. With the ability to travel more easily, your global perspective will begin to shift. Places that previously appeared distant, or inaccessible, will now seem like a short bus journey away.
Accommodation will also be simpler; you'll know the areas to avoid and the ones which are reasonably priced. In a language learning community you can ask about where to eat, the best spots for tourists, and maybe even meet up with activity groups. As an example, the United Kingdom now has 'parkrun UK'. This is an organised event which is free to join and keeps a track of your progress using a barcode. You simply turn up to one of the organised park runs all over the UK and join in. It is a great way to make social contacts with native residents.
Parkrun is little known about by foreign nationals, and most of the runs attract up to two-hundred people. All members go for a coffee after the run to meet up. That's a lot of social contacts to make!
Make Career Contacts
Shared interests can also open up career opportunities. Many people who join language learning communities will work for large successful companies around the world. As a member of a language learning community you have the advantage of creating a relationship with the shared interest of language learning.
A social contact could help to provide you with a reference, read your English resume to check it for errors, or even recommend you to a hiring manager. By honing your language skills in a community, you'll become a more attractive employee when your resume mentions a second language.
Where Can I Join A Language Learning Community?
As an online language learning community, italki has been at the forefront of providing a professional and friendly digital village to help you study another language. Most recently they have opened a Facebook group called 'For the love of languages' to help students and teachers interact. In our last four points, we'll explain what this group offers and why you should join it.
Share Tips Related To Language Learning
If you've struggled with the accent of a language, you can discuss this with professional italki teachers via the Facebook group. By talking to a community of experts, you'll be able to improve your skills with tips that can make your study time more productive. One simple change could save you hours of your life and put you on the path to fluency.
Get Involved In Discussions
Perhaps you're trying to decide if you should study traditional or simplified Chinese writing? By starting a discussion on italki's Facebook page you'll get help and input from professional teachers, and residents of China, Taiwan and Singapore. With a little help you'll have a better idea of which style to study.
You Can Introduce Yourself To The italki Community
Always post your name and nationality on the Facebook group. That way you'll quickly make connections relevant to the languages you want to study. You can also post your interests. If you're a keen runner, a Singaporean national can tell you about upcoming runs and that early mornings or late at night are the best times to run.
Get Your Questions Answered Quickly
As great as the internet is, it can be very frustrating when we can't find a straight answer to a specific question. As the italki Facebook group is made up of real people, and not chatbots, you can quickly get an answer to any question you have about languages. Perhaps you need to know all the countries that speak English or find out if there are free Mandarin classes where you are travelling to? The answer will be forthcoming from users of the Facebook page.
A Global Community
By reaching out to people online such as italki's 'For the love of languages' Facebook group, you can cultivate positive connections to help you socially and financially. The world is a wonderful place and so are the people in it. Try turning off your television for a month and immerse yourself in a language learning community. You may find you feel more positive, more outgoing and master a language in half the time.