5 Easy Ways to Improve your Language Skills

Let me set the scene: You’re on your year abroad. You’re making lots of improvement in the whole language thing, when you’re with people… But what about when you’re alone? What do you do then? Here’s 5 easy things you can do to improve your language skills.

Watch Netflix in your target language! Just being surrounded by the language and intonation helps you immerse yourself in the language, and makes a big difference. Top tip: Really cheesy, kids TV shows and films are far easier to understand than other shows. Watch those with the subtitles off and use it as an excuse to watch Zoey101 again.

Listen to some slowly spoken news in your language. Not only will it help your language skills, you’ll learn more about what’s going on around the world from a foreign perspective. Here are the best ones that I’ve found for French and German. Be warned, the German one is reeeeaally slow. But I feel like that helps with pronunciation.

Listen to some music in your target language on Spotify. I have worship music in French, disney songs in French, German and Dutch, christmas songs in German, as well as some popular music in French and German. (As an aside note, if you have any good playlists, I would love to give them a listen; please leave me a link down below!)

Read a news article every day. There are so many apps for reading news in Foreign Languages. Here are the ones I use for French and German. The amount of time I spend aimlessly scrolling through Facebook on my phone, I can definitely swap that for a bit of news.

Read a book! Go to the kids/youth section of a book shop and look for a book that you seem like you can understand. Sure, some kids and youth books may have awful plot lines, but over time you can work your way up to more interesting adult books.

Do you have anymore tips or music and book suggestions? I’d love to hear them!

Abi xx

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I like your shoes.

Today I want to talk about compliments.

no, that’s not a compliment…

As a very girly girl, I love giving (and receiving!) compliments. It feels good to be complimented, and complimenting others makes them feel happier, not to mention makes everyone think more positively. But, in light of all the compliments given out, are there so many women who feel like they’re not good enough? Maybe part of the problem is that the majority of these compliments are hollow. The majority of compliments are about your external appearance. And those make you feel good for an instant, but they don’t last. Why? Because clothes, hairstyles and makeup are all temporary. And therefore, so are the compliments.

We live in a world based on materialism, and appearance… so that’s what we compliment. And complimenting looks is not necessarily bad, they’re lovely and complimenting others is something that comes naturally to many girls. I in no way want them to stop. But maybe we should also be telling our friends how clever/funny/caring/talented they are! (Because, let’s face it, if they’re our friends they definitely are!)

We as girls and women need to be telling each other that they are valuable because of who we are and what we do. Let’s face it, one day we’ll be old and wrinkly (and therefore by societies standard’s “ugly”), but the impact we make on the world will last.

One day, I would like to have a daughter (or a few!) and I hope to encourage her in the things that matter. I want to encourage her to be talented, passionate, caring and thoughtful. And I want her to know, that no matter how she does her make-up or her hair, or what clothes she wears, that she is valuable and important. That’s not to say I don’t want her to enjoy putting on make-up, wearing nice clothes and doing her hair… In fact, if she’s anything like me, she probably will! But it’s not all that matters in life. I would love her to grow into a woman who tells others that she loves their creativity, or their easy-going personality, who makes people feel really good and tells others that no matter what they look like, they have something great to offer the world.

Because we all do.

My Response to German Plane Crash in the French Alps.

When tragedy strikes, a lot of confusion follows. The shock of it leaves people asking ‘how’, ‘why’ and ‘could we have stopped it?’. My heart goes out to all those affected by the recent plane crash, and I pray that you would know comfort in your grief.

But there is something I need to say. This was not simply a suicide. It was not the story of a man who wanted to end his life, but of a man who tragically ended the lives of 150 people. The co-pilot was not the only person who died that day. He may have been a victim of depression, but 150 innocent people were victim to his actions. We must not forget that. By treating his case as simply a suicide, we add to the stigmatisation of depression. It’s not uncommonly known that 1 in 4 people have a mental health concern, and of that the majority have mixed anxiety and depression. Out of the many people affected by depression, you would find it extremely difficult to find one who would even consider taking the lives of so many people whilst ending their own.

But more importantly, as a result of this, we must learn. Learn to talk more openly about mental health and attempt to understand that it is not a cookie cutter diagnosis. Depression affects people in different ways and to different levels. The more open about mental health we are, the better we can help those who are struggling with it. By keeping it taboo, we only make it worse for both those with depression and also their loved ones to reach out and receive support and help.

I want to encourage you that if you are struggling, you are not alone in this. There are people   who will be there for you and care for you. And also in the words of Christopher Robin, “You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

If you or someone you love is struggling, please either tell people you trust or contact the Samaritans day or night on 08457 90 90 90.