Tips for studying foreign languages

Tips for studying foreign languages
23 November 2016

In the following article I want to give you some useful advice about how to approach language learning. In the last years did a lot of research and checked out different approaches from people who succeeded in this area. Here is a short summary:


You need a willingness to make mistakes

At first it feels a little weird to make a lot of mistakes but you just have to get over it. You should speak the language from day one on. This way you gain confidence and learn from your mistakes. You can’t get everything right form the beginning but the only way to be able to speak a language is to actually speak it.

Use the modern possibilities

The new technologies give us a huge advantage in learning languages compared to previous generations. There are different platforms where you can get to know people from all over the world and than have a conversation with them via skype. It’s all about the exposure to the language. By the way, this is not only possible if you live in the country where the language is spoken. You can read a book, translate songs or put some audios on your iPod and listen to them while you cook something or go for a run. Be creative! The more you expose yourself to the language the better you memorize words and get used to the rhythm of the language. If you think about how you acquired your native language, you realize that at first you just listened to it – a lot and in many situations – and than gradually started speaking.

Patience and persistence

This is especially true for Russian language. It just takes a lot of time to get used to the language and to acquire the vocabulary. You have to create meaning, it helps you a lot to go through the tough phases of learning the language. It’s essential to know why you are studying the language you are studying. Find interesting content, people who speak the language, books you would like to read in the original and so on. This gives you the motivation that is needed. It also means that you have to take responsibility. Set clear goals, short and long term and than measure your results and improve your learning method if necessary.

Believe in yourself

Especially for people who don’t speak a second language it seems very hard in the beginning. They quickly get frustrated and overwhelmed. Of course it needs a big effort and a lot of time but everyone is able to learn at least one foreign language.

I would like to finish with the advantages of studying foreign languages. You get to enjoy a lot of small wins; suddenly you understand a part in a song you didn’t before or you can finally order confidently in a restaurant. Studying languages is a long, but enjoyable road, where you get to know a lot of new friends and get interesting insights into other cultures and way of lifes. It opens up a complete new world and is definitely worth the struggle.


Matthias Thoeny, currently studying Russian at Liden & Denz in St. Petersburg

Posted by Matthias Thoeny

My name is Matthias Thoeny and I am from Switzerland. I am studying Business Administration at the University of St. Gallen. My mother tongue is German. I started learning Russian three years ago at university and continued self-studying. Last summer I already spent 7 weeks at Liden & Denz in St. Petersburg and I really enjoyed my stay in this beautiful environment. I started my Internship at Liden & Denz in Moscow in September and now I am working in St. Petersburg. I hope you enjoy reading my blog articles.

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