There is a common misconception that the best time to learn new skills is when you are young. That as you get older your brain can no longer process the new information. Yet this simply isn’t the case.
No matter your age or your expectations; if you have got the determination, you can absorb new skills just as easily as your younger counterparts – and this includes learning a new language.
One of the fears people face when it comes to learning a language is the fact that it is completely new. Like a baby learning to speak for the first time, most of us don’t have any existing foundations to work from. As a result, the prospect of picking up a new language appears daunting.
Yet it doesn’t have to be this way. In this article we will prove that it is not only possible to learn a new language – at any age – but that it can be fun!
- Altering your perceptions – too many people get caught up on fluency, and that by speaking the language they have to take on the persona of the country. This isn’t true. You don’t have to eat, think and drink this new language, nor do you have to turn French if you learn the language. Instead, keep it fun and remember you don’t have to be perfect or fluent. The only expectations are the ones you place upon yourself – no one else.
In turn, you should view it as a chance to open new doors and improve your ability to communicate and engage with others whilst travelling.
- Motivation – now you’re no longer pressuring yourself to transform into the persona of the languages home country; you can focus on maintaining your motivation.
Motivation is a key part of learning any new skill. Not your age. Not being in school. Motivation. It is motivation that inspires us to keep striving forward and aiming high. It is motivation that encourages you to that little bit more.
That is why, if you are determined and committed enough, it is possible to learn a new language at any age, and in any location.
- Practice – the easiest way to pick up and learn new skills – especially a language – is to practice. For children, this comes in the form of using one or two phrases whilst on holiday, or testing them out at home. As an adult, you can use your financial stability to travel, sightsee, and put this new skill into action.
Even if you have no plans to travel, testing out phrases on your friends, family or partner can help the information to stick, whilst also proving entertaining for your loved ones.
- Past experience – you might not think it, but you have already achieved experience in learning a new language – your own language. You have already gone through the process, but this first time you were a baby. This means you are already at an advantage as you are already aware about language, communication and how things are said. Similarly, you’ll already know about annunciation and how you need to be careful with your phrasing.
This means that whilst you don’t initially know French, Italian or Spanish, this previous experience in learning your own language will make it easier for you to pick up a new one, as you won’t have to be taught about grammatical patterns or similarities between words.
- You’ve already got study skills – you may not have used them in a while, but all the study skills you acquired as a teenager still exist, meaning it won’t take much to put them into use again.
These existing study skills can prove handy as you’ll already know how to organise and prioritise your work, as well as will already understand the benefits of practicing. Similarly, you will already have the reflective skills needed to help you identify why something has or hasn’t worked.
Essentially you’ll be able to harness skills that have been ingrained into you since your youth.
- Perspective – you’ll know from experience that not everything will go to plan. There will be ups and downs, and assignments that don’t go as well as you’d hoped. Despite all this, it is important to remember that with these ups and downs, you are still learning. You are still absorbing. You are still retaining.
Learning a language is no different. There will be days where everything is easy, and other days when you struggle to comprehend the topic. The key to succeeding is being confident in your ability. More importantly, you need to find the confidence to try something new, to push your boundaries and venture into the unknown. With this confidence you will discover the skills needed to breach communication barriers and feel comfortable in new countries.
As you can see, all you need is confidence and self-belief. Conquer these and learning any new subject will come as easily to you as it did when you were a teenager. So if you are interested in learning a new language, why not consider trying an online language course? From the comfort of your own home you can explore new worlds and make your travels that much more exciting…