The easiest and fastest way to gain fluency in your target language is to make a new friend who only speaks that language. You can only learn from them as you get to know them and their culture better.
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If I could share just one tip for becoming fluent it's this: Make a friend.
One who speaks your target language, that is.
So many students tell me they don't know how to improve their language skills.
I always ask them if they know anyone they can speak their target language with during the week.
That's because one or two hours per week that they're in class with me isn't going to help them improve their fluency.
It's just not enough.
But what's enough is to make a new friend who speaks the language you're learning.
This is how I was finally able to push my fluency when I lived in Peru.
The first year I spent with English speakers because I didn't have the confidence to speak Spanish.
But I realized how much I was missing out. I was missing out on really getting to know the people of Peru, people who only spoke Spanish yet had so much to share with me, their culture, their food, their joy, their experiences.
So I made it a point to focus on making new friends my second year there. And that opened my world in ways I could've never imagined before.
This is the way to get to know a language. Know the people. Know their culture. Speak their language the way they speak it.
The students who succeed in becoming fluent make a new friend.
It really is that easy.
Jackie Donaldson is the founder and director of Amidon Studios Language Studies. She started Amidon Studios in 2017 after managing a language institute in Lima, Peru for six years. She's taught students from all over the world while living in Peru, Mexico, and the U.S. When she's not working or studying, you'll find her gardening, playing with her cat Frankie, swimming, baking, and exploring the globe.