There are a few things that every language student needs during their time at university, not just the obvious bits like stationery or books. The best way to truly throw yourself into a language is to surround yourself with it as much as you possibly can, so here are four of my essentials for a language student…
Firstly, the dictionary. While this one might seem obvious, it’s so important to have one to hand. It doesn’t matter really whether it’s a physical dictionary or using an online one such as WordReference or Linguee, as long as you have something to turn to. Personally I like to use both a physical dictionary and WordReference, so there’s always a second translation of a word if you’re unsure.
The second essential for a language student is to have a way of immersing yourself in the language outside of the classroom. Whether it’s through music, films, podcasts, books or whatever, as long as you enjoy it, it doesn’t matter how you surround yourself in the new language. You could also try changing some of your favourite apps into a different language. Most of them, including Facebook, Twitter, Buzzfeed and more, all have the option of translating their content for you.
Thirdly – colours! One of the most important parts for me of doing work for any subject is using colours. This is especially true in languages, where you’re constantly learning new vocabulary, grammar, and topics. I like to use four colours for vocabulary (red for nouns, green for verbs, blue for adjectives & adverbs, and black for the English translation), however there’s nothing to stop you using more! Using colours helps you to remember what you’ve written, as well as making your notes look far more interesting than they would if they were all just in black.
Finally, and possibly the most essential thing for every language student: people to speak the language with! Be it with your course mates, exchange students, online friends or random people in the street, it’s so so important to speak. Whether it’s just a couple of words here and there or a full-blown conversation, even the tiniest bit of speaking practice will help. There are so many opportunities to speak your language(s) in York, both in the university and in the city itself, through conversation clubs, tertulias (reading groups) and other activities, so you’ll never be short of a way to practise!