How to keep motivation when learning a foreign language

June 26, 2019

You may have a lower motivation at some point when learning Spanish. No problem, it’s perfectly normal! Find all tips to stay motivated and do not pick up when you learn Spanish. Keeping the motivation or going beyond the desert is not insurmountable. Just have the right advice!

Three phases when you learn Spanish

  • The start

Starting in Spanish is when everything is fine! We discover the language and we are generally hyper motivated. Many school as Expanish language school have entertaining induction to Spanish, with highly interactive classes.

As English speakers, we progress fairly quickly at the beginning so the start is generally good.

  • Assimilation

Assimilation is the second phase, what can also be called “the crossing of the desert”! This is the most thankless phase, because it is the longest. In general, one has the impression to not progress any more after having acquired the bases. Learning is slower and maybe more complex too.

  • Puzzle fall into place

This last phase corresponds to the mastery of the language. This does not mean that we stop learning, but we can let go and enjoy the language.

The second stage (assimilation or crossing the desert) is usually the moment when many of the learners drop out. So here is how not to pick up!

Tips for not dropping out

  •  Visualize your goal

It is important to find an image that is reminiscent of its purpose, which can be a stay in Spain or to communicate with Spanish friends, or find work in Latin America. Print an image that represents your goal will help you keep motivation in the long run. Put this image in your home, on the fridge or in the background of your computer!

  • Beware of procrastination

It is important not to procrastinate in Spanish, it is the best way to win. It happens to everyone that when planning something then have to postpone it. It’s normal and human. BUT: if you postpone another day, then another, it becomes procrastination. And the longer you stop, the harder it will be to restart.

  • Learn while having fun!

Planning fun activities while learning Spanish is very important. This will make you want to do a Spanish lesson again! Thinking of a nice activity at the end of the course will allow you to want to start over and leave with a positive note!

  • Do not learn Spanish alone!

No matter what level or strategy has been adopted, the main thing is sharing your goals and understands what it means to learn a language. You can find a friend in your entourage, in Spanish class or on a forum.

The important thing is to share with this person about your progress, your problems and your successes. It will be nice and helpful to have someone who understands what you are going through!

  • Last tip: be patient

We live in a society that forces us to go fast and that teaches us to have services instantly. Learning a language does not fit into this dynamic. People can not speak Spanish overnight. Nobody learn Spanish by snapping fingers. It’s progressive and it takes time, so be patient and do not be too demanding with yourself!

General advice for language students

Today, you must learn to really listen to the language, without always seeing it written. It can be difficult at first, but it’s really profitable when you talk about it. Do not try to pronounce Spanish as English.

You will find that there is less focus on structure and grammar, and more on understanding and being understood. Once you understand the message, the structure is more understandable. Plus, once you get used to the different sounds between your new language and yours, it will be easier to understand what you are hearing. Start with the vowels for example: say them out loud and you will see that they are different in English, so first of all you have to identify these new sounds.

Learning a language can develop your communication skills in general, making you more confident to talk to a group, helping you let go of your inhibitions. If you have an interest in the languages ​​themselves, you will make a good language student.

Do not be afraid to try using your new language on every occasion. This is a way to reinforce your learning. And remember that language is part of the identity of people and culture. Speaking foreign language opens you doors to new cultures and eliminates the cultural barriers that exist when you do not understand each other.

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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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