Maintaining Foreign Language Skills After Graduation

Today we have a guest blog post from blogger, Jamie Sward, speaking on the importance of keeping those foreign language skills fresh, even after after graduation.

As a student in grade school, I remember asking myself the same question every night before diving into my homework—when am I ever going to need this stuff in real life? Seriously though, when will I ever need to solve a problem using compound fractions in my daily life? For most people, depending on their career path, the answer is “NEVER.” As depressing as it might be to think about how much time you spent memorizing important dates in history, chances are you’re never going to need that information again. Now, learning Spanish—that’s one school subject I wish, stuck with me. Had I retained even a quarter of what I learned in the, almost 10 years I studied Spanish between grade school and freshman year of college, I’d be completely fluent. But here I am, in my mid-thirties and barely able to string a sentence together in Spanish.

I seem to recall taking a family vacation to Costa Rica when I was a sophomore or junior in college, and I remember being embarrassed by how little Spanish I was able to speak, much less understand. At this point, my last required Spanish class was freshman year and of course, I didn’t continue with it because, well—when would I ever need to speak Spanish? Looking back now I can see how shortsighted that was. So, what do you do in the years after your studies end, to keep your language learning skills fresh and current? This is where a program like BRIC comes in especially useful.

Manuel Antonio Beach, Costa Rica

The key to learning how to speak Portuguese, or any language really, is practice. As a student, it’s easy for tunnel vision to take over, where your focus is on passing classes and graduating. While this is normal, it’s important to think about the big picture as well—AKA life beyond the classroom. The world today is an increasingly bilingual one, so by continuing your language studies with an online program like BRIC Language Systems offers, you’d be doing yourself a big favor.

As I said before, regular practice is the key to learning and maintaining your language skills. BRIC’s method of using a teachers (or “Language Guides,” as they call them) based in countries where that language is spoken puts them ahead of the pack, so to speak. In essence, you have the advantage of getting your own private language tutor—someone that lives in the country whose language you are trying to learn. Let’s say you studied Brazilian Portuguese in college, but now you’re a year or two out of school. You’re thinking of traveling to Rio for the 2016 Olympics but need a refresher on the language, because who knows how much you actually remember from school. No problem! BRIC will help assess your skills and pair you with the right teacher based on your level. With everything done online, and one-on-one private sessions with your Portuguese language guide via web and video conferencing, you’ll be learning Portuguese in no time. It’s kind of amazing how quickly things start to come back once you start applying them again. Sometimes it’s just a matter of reminding your brain that, “Hey! I learned this stuff already!”

Rio De Janeiro, Brazil – Location of the 2016 Summer Olympics

No matter how long it’s been since you studied a language, it’s never too late to get back on the saddle. Whether you’re interested in learning a language for work or for fun—knowing something like BRIC exists is pretty awesome. With a trip to Spain on the horizon for me, I’m pretty excited to get my Spanish language speaking skills back up to snuff, because let’s face it—being able to speak the language of the country you’re visiting makes for a more well-rounded, educational and fun experience.

Jamie Sward is a New York City-based social media specialist and music blogger at Music Is My King Size Bed. Hailing from the Chicago suburbs, Jamie relocated to the east coast after graduating from Indiana University with a degree in journalism. When he’s not writing, Jamie enjoys taking advantage of New York City’s live music scene.