When you start a course with Rubio Dutch, we tell you to engage, take risks, interact, ask, absorb, make mistakes and to be creative with the language to grow your comfort zone. But how, where and when to start?
Choosing the right activities
Just like you wouldn’t eat everything that is on the restaurant’s menu, it makes no sense to to try to engage in every single conversation, read every single word you see, decipher every news paper article or TV show there is, listen to every single song that is popular. The language you learn should fit you, your needs, your environment, your goals. To help you select when to pay attention and when to let it go, you can use these guidelines:
Activities should be Fun, Interesting, Relevant or Useful
‘Fun’ refers to activities or interactions that bring you joy, like joining a group of runners to prepare for a marathon if running is your thing, or joining a playgroup with your toddler if you’d like to hang out with other parents, or going to a bar or music concert (yes, please!). You are on the right track when the activity you choose is something you look forward to and the language is nothing more than a tool, the collateral damage, and not the main goal.
‘Interesting’ refers to activities or interactions that spike your curiosity or interest, like attending a conference or a workshop, having a political discussion with a friend, joining a group of people that share your interests, or watching YouTube tutorials, TED talks or documentaries, listen to podcasts, reading books, if that makes your heart beat faster. If you are looking for good content or interesting exchanges of thoughts and the new language is rather a tool to gain access than the main focus, that is what we need!
‘Relevant’ means that you only invest time and energy into learn words or sentences that you will actually be using in the next few days. Maybe some stuff feels Really Important To Know, but be realistic: will you need it any time soon? Our brain only remembers things it repeatedly uses. Relevant stuff, thus. If you keep it, but aren’t using it, it will end up all dusty and crusty in your brain-attic, just taking up useless space before fading away.
‘Useful’ refers to anything that improves your quality of life. Knowing how to compliment someone, how to wish someone a speedy recovery, how to ask someone to repeat what they said... It might not be extremely sexy or intelligent stuff, but if you know how to yell at someone in traffic, it will immediately improve your quality of life. And your life expectancy!