What is your New Year’s resolution for language learning?
“The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals.” Melody Beattie
New Year, new resolutions – what about your language learning resolutions?
Many people start in the new year with a New Year’s resolution, and quite frequently languages are included as well. We asked our colleagues what their language learning resolutions for 2016 are:
Maja Trzeciak, Marketing Manager, Polish native speaker: “Learning foreign languages is extremely interesting and satisfying – therefore my New Year’s Resolution is to improve my German and achieve C1 level within next two years. Taking a German course, as well as self-study (reading German books, watching TV, etc.) will be key points in my journey to complete my goal. Knowing how important the assessment of language is, I’m planning to take the Zentrale Mittelstufenprüfung and obtain a certificate.”
Corinna Korthaus, Office Administrator, German native speaker: “I do have the ambition to perfect my general English skills, and at the same time to develop confidence to effectively communicate within an English-speaking business environment – which will undoubtedly help my career prospects. For the new year I plan to take Cambridge English: Business Higher. I will study for this exam using the official preparation materials from Cambridge English for self-study. Additionally, I will also attend a preparation course at a language school. In that way I’m sure I will be best prepared for passing this exam.”
Alistair Starling, Regional Director, English native speaker: “My aim in German language is to sit (and pass!) a B2 exam in the spring, preparing for this weekly through self-study and private tuition. Then start progress towards a C1 certificate over the course of the following year. Both steps will really help me at work!”
Silvia Smith, Intern, Spanish native speaker: “This year I would like to take the Goethe-Zertifikat C1. My plan is to study on my own and use exam preparation materials. I think preparing for an exam is also a motivating and good way to improve all my language skills. I will try to be more active in conversations with my English- and German-speaking friends, which will help me to practice my speaking and improve my fluency and gain confidence. I will continue reading books and watch films in German and English.”
Adam Maciaszczyk, Business Development Manager, Polish native speaker: “This year I am going to spend some more time on studying Italian. I would like to able to get by in most social situations when I am in Italy in summer. My favourite method of studying is listening to dialogues several times and trying to memorise each time longer and longer chunks of the conversation. I usually do it when I am on the train to and back from work.”
Manuela Richter, Marketing Manager, German native speaker: “2016 will be my year for Polish and Spanish! For Polish I want to reach level A1 by the end of the year – for this purpose I am attending a course here in Berlin. For Spanish I want to brush up my knowledge and make sure that I remain at B1 level. This will be done by reading Spanish books and using every opportunity on offer for speaking. And if there is some time left, I would like to spend it on improving my basic French.”
Robert Burrows, Development Support Manager, English native speaker: “I’m planning on refreshing my Polish with the help of an online app.”
Leszec Szulc, Head of Business Development, Polish native speaker: “My plan is to improve my German and reach C1 in all skills (especially writing). I plan to read at least one book in German a month and to write more in German in everyday life, e.g. more e-mails in German and making notes at work in German (rather than English).”
Johannes Hubig, Intern, German native speaker: “Personally, I think New Year’s resolutions are a bit of a sham – if you want to do something that will benefit you or others, why wait until the next year? That’s why my “resolution” will be something I already do but want to do more of: Read books in English language, it’s great all-round learning.”
Finally, we have compiled five tips for you to ensure that your New Year’s resolution is successful:
- Set yourself a goal by using SMART criteria. Objectives should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time-related. One example would be: “I will attend an English course once a week at C1 level and pass the Cambridge English: Advanced in December this year.”
- Use milestones for your final goal. This increases your motivation and gives you a sense of achievement every now and then in the long run.
- Tell your friends and your family about your goal. This might prove a very good source of motivation.
- Combine language learning with travelling. This not only allows you to practise the language but also gives you increased motivation for learning at home before you travel there.
- Believe in yourself! Even if there are times when you struggle with grammar or certain word structures, don’t give up. See those things as challenges. Also, don’t be afraid of talking even when you are making mistakes. This is a vital part of learning.
“Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.” Oprah Winfrey