Guest Blog: 8 Tips For Learning A Foreign Language

If there is something you want to learn at Coventry University, we’ve got it covered. Even if it’s not part of your course. Linguae Mundi is part of Coventry’s Centre for Global Engagement, and Cedric from the team is here to tell you about learning a foreign language with them in your free time. Wunderbar!

You might not  know that at Coventry University, you can learn 19 different languages with Linguae Mundi. Their classes are open to students, staff, and the public.


Learning a new language boosts your CV, teaches you about other cultures, and means you become a global graduate. Whether you’re going on a study/work mobility trip, taking a Global Leaders Programme language course, or going on a field trip abroad with your faculty, there is a language course for you.

This Autumn, students can take lessons in Arabic, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, and Spanish (normal price is £75 but discounts apply for certain students)! But before you embark on your new language journey, here are our top 8 tips when it comes to learning any foreign language:

1. Practice a lot


You learn to play the piano by playing the piano, and you learn to play rugby by playing rugby. It’s the same for languages: in order to become confident and fluent in a foreign language you need to use it. In class, speak up and articulate. Practice makes perfect.

2. Make mistakes


Maybe this seems counter-intuitive to you, but the best learners in foreign language classes are the ones who are adventurous enough to make mistakes and try out new phrases. It’s okay to make mistakes because you can learn from them.

3. Avoid translating


Some learners want to know what every word and every phrase means in English, but this can be counter-produuctive. First, not every word or phrase from a foreign language has a 1:1 translation in English. In Chinese, for example, “nihao” means “hello” but translated it means “you good”! Second, it’s best to keep the use of English to a minimum in a foreign language classroom. How can you practice a foreign language if you speak English all the time?

4. Be Active


Some learners think that learning a language is a matter of waiting for their teacher to ‘pour’ their knowledge into them. Teacher-centred approaches don’t always work so well– this is why Linguae Mundi applies a student-centred approach. As a learner, you get to do activities. This will include speaking to other learners in your class and working in pairs or groups.

5. Do language outside the classroom


When class is over, don’t leave it to the next one to use your new language again. Be pro-active and “do language” whenever you can: watch a video in that language (with or without subtitles), listen to a song or podcast, read an article. Whatever you enjoy the most, do that in the foreign language. You won’t necessarily understand everything but you will pick out the bits you do understand.

6. Make notes


Use pen and paper in your class: research suggests that handwritten notes are better than typed notes. Simply by handwriting notes you are already committing the foreign language to your memory!

7. Read your notes between classes


Revising your notes is a bit like cleaning your house: every day a little bit is better than doing everything once a week (or month…). Whether it’s at the breakfast table, over dinner, or as part of your bedtime routine, keep your notes to hand!

8. Follow the ground rules


Your language tutor will make sure that your learning environment is safe and enriching. In return, stick to the ground rules set by your teacher! Remember to be punctual, polite, and personable – the 3 Ps! It will make the course more enjoyable, which in return ensures a great learning experience for everyone.

If you decide learning a language is for you, remember to check out Linguae Mundi, they’ll have everything you need to finally master the language of your choice.