A new year has arrived and many people are trying to stick to their New Year's resolutions. I never make any - not a single one. Do I really want to eat less chocolate or start going to bed at a sensible time? The answer is definitely no.
However, for 2017, I have set myself the challenge of making more effort to improve my German. Perhaps some of my ideas can inspire your own language learning this year.
People might think I'm crazy, but I've started talking to myself. On my way to work or in the supermarket, I try to describe my surroundings in my head or out loud to remind myself of vocabulary and useful phrases. I might get a few odd looks as I whisper to myself, but I'm already finding that I can answer quicker in conversations.
Last semester I joined a local orchestra and learnt lots of new specialist vocabulary about music. This semester I am joining a badminton club and a German conversation group to give myself more opportunities to practise speaking with people who have common interests.
Changing the language settings on my devices
Switching my laptop and mobile phone into German was incredibly easy and encourages me to think in my second language. Everytime I check my Facebook or send an email, I discover new words and avoid English for longer periods of time.
Watch more films
It's a little weird watching familiar films that have been dubbed in German. All the voices are strange but as I already know the story, I can follow what the characters are saying without having to worry about missing the action.
Have you watched any famous British or American films in your own language? Maybe it's time to try the original English version.
Laugh at myself
I've learnt from my first semester that I'm very good at making mistakes. My favourite was the time I went shopping for a scarf and kept using the German word for sheep ... This year, instead of feeling embarrassed or letting myself get stressed, I will laugh at my silly errors and try again.
Happy New Year!