Everything you need to know before taking a language at uni.
1. It’s really intense. If you took languages in high school, you’ll fly through everything you learned in a year of school study in about 4 weeks. Every class you will be moving forward because there’s no time to be dwelling on a topic.
2. Learning the material is your responsibility. You really NEED to study every day or you’re going to fall behind.
3. Sometimes you may get very frustrated… different languages follow different logic, depending on your native language your second language may not make a great deal of sense to you.
4. Good teacher and learning environment matters. If after a few weeks you’re not feeling good about your progress or the class, get your ass out of there before it’s too late.
5. Good textbook also matters. If your textbook is shit, but everything otherwise okay, try to find your materials for the language online, such as grammar notes and good vocab lists (duolingo is also great if the language is on there). As a last resort buy a better textbook and use it in addition to the prescribed book.
6. If you don’t understand something make sure you get help with it before your problems accumulate. There’s nothing worse than getting so overwhelmed that you get a headache every time you look at a text written in the language you’re learning.
7. Study every day. Practice writing. Building sentences. Get a native speaker or your teacher to give you some feedback.
8. If you have a speaking assessment, it’s important to just be calm. Don’t be worried about making a fool of yourself. A good teacher will be sympathetic to you and won’t make you to feel more embarrassed.
9. Some invaluable phrases to learn first are things to assist you in communicating like “Can you repeat that” “I understand” “I don’t understand” “can you speak slowly” and such things.
10. DO NOT take several languages at once at university level unless you really want a challenge. Be prepared to get them mixed up and being buried under the vocabulary you have to learn for each. I am taking two languages presently and I can tell you the workload for languages is a lot more than most other arts subjects. Just a reminder that the pace is also INSANE.
Good luck to all aspiring polyglots :)