5 Tips on How to Become Fluent in Foreign Languages

While learning a foreign language, there always comes the moment when we are ready to speak with a native speaker. At least, our exams and tests say so. But the truth is, that speaking a foreign language is also a lot about self-confidence. For those of you, who have been struggling with this issue, I have listed down five tips to overcome the insecurities of actually using the language you have worked so hard to learn.

 

  1. Solid basics

Of course, this is crucial. You need to have solid knowledge of the language you are trying to speak with confidence. I am learning English since I was twelve and I have to admit that I was very lucky with people who I got as English teachers. Special thanks go to my teacher from high school and another one from my journalism bachelor program on my university.

There are however few things you can do even though you weren’t as lucky as I was. You can always try to find a suitable course of a desirable language near your place or you can give a try to an online course as well.

It is also important to have a good textbook, grammar website or a CD-ROM at hand, so you can always check a phrase or a grammar when you are not entirely sure.

 

  1. Watch a movie, TV show or play a PC game

This is my most favorite part since I am a big lover of American and British TV shows. In Czech Republic, the dubbed movies and TV shows are a very normal and popular thing. And while watching them in English, it feels little bit less as a waste of time to me. This is a great tip for those who want to improve their conversational skills.

 

  1. Read a book, listen to an audiobook or a podcast

For those who want to strengthen their abilities as storytellers in that particular language or for those who seeks to expand their vocabulary, there goes my number three tip. What worked great for me was the combination of reading the book and listening to the audiobook at the same time.

Podcasts are quite a new phenomenon to me, as my closest American friend recommended it to me few months back, but they are great! I appreciate them especially on my way home after a very long day, when I don’t really feel into listening to some music. And when you find a podcast that really attracts your attention, these can be great also for your cardio exercising.

 

  1. Join a buddy program!

As you will hear in my video, buddy programs are the best! Not only it will strengthen your language skills, boost your confidence and give you the approval of native speakers themselves, through buddy program you can meet the best people in your life and start a new friendships for a lifetime. I was in a buddy program for about four semesters and this experience also helped me to get better with socializing and pushing my introvert limits beyond.

This tip is much easier to do for those who are still in college or in high school, but I believe there are some options even for those who already work fulltime. Go and check my video where I came up with some ideas!

 

  1. Talk – no matter what

You need to get used to you speaking the foreign language. In order to do so, there is nothing easier than starting to talk to yourself with that language, so you wouldn’t feel awkward every time you are forced to use it in public.

We all know these moments, when we are getting bored at home or when we have to do some silly manual work just to have it done – doing laundry or cleaning the house for instance. And these are exactly those moments which you can use to practice the language. This will give you the sense of how you actually sound while trying to pronounce the words correctly and also a save space to correct yourself if you make a mistake.

 

Bonus tip – ENJOY IT!

I would say that this tip, despite the fact it is just a bonus tip, is crucial for your success with languages. You should enjoy the process of learning the language and have fun with it. Study the language for yourself and this attitude will make it joyful to you.

 

Here comes my YT video about the topic where I discuss some of the tips further. Enjoy it and let me know which super hacks do you use to become better and better every day!

 

Learning Tip #2: Gratitude as the Essential Key to Success

As you already know, I am putting a big emphasis on building gratitude through my Positive Diary series here on my precious blog. I feel like once you will master the ability of gratitude it can expand into every branch of your life and bring you the most unexpected joy and happiness. Therefore, I decided that this surprisingly free of charge, but invaluable ability should be covered as one of my learning tips for being more successful in what you want to learn.

 

My new YouTube video aims exactly in this direction. I shot it during the last week and since then, many things in my life has changed. But I still believe in what I say in the video and I sincerely hope I will believe it until the rest of my life.

 

Why, you might wonder. Well, I have to admit that while practicing gratitude on everyday basis through my positive diary, working hard on my projects and attending my favorite classes at school, I was the happiest I have ever been. Of course, some days are harder that others and it is so easy to forget about one’s goals and gratitude in a face of a life’s strugglebut what is important is that you always need to find a way back and a will to fight back. And again, remembering your practiced gratitude can help a lot with this comeback as well.

 

I hope you will enjoy my tiny video which captures one beautiful day in Prague and one important message. And let me know how do you power your dreams; how do you manage to complete your goals.

Happy Sunday, my friends!

 

The Positive Diary #9 – Czech medical care

20th October 2018 – Dear Diary, it has been a while, again. This last week was quite a mess. I turned twenty-six last Sunday and since then, everything went downhill. Not only I have found out about the inconvenient of studying while being older than 25, my younger brother, the light of my life and my very best friend, found out that he has a type 1 diabetes. What a shock it was, considering he is about to turn twenty-one next March. To my great surprise, today in my positive diary, I want to talk about medical care here, in Czech Republic.

 

When our mum died, I was so furious about the same system. After what felt like ages, during which my mum was told from various doctors that she is totally okay and if she feels bad, it is probably because she fakes it, she was hospitalized and two months later, she passed away. I was fifteen then and I wasn’t able to understand how this could have happened. I was angry as I was never before. Since then, I always considered your days over once the medical system gets you. I am much older now and, not only based on our latest experience, I have to admit that even here it depends on the people you encounter on your journey, as almost in every case in one’s life. (Also, our mum’s disease was quite rare.)

 

Visits at hospital can be harsh. I know it myself from the visits of my grandpa, as he was fighting a lung cancer, and I know it from the look on faces of my grandparents, as they were coming home from the hospital in the final stage of my mum’s disease. But this time, I was pleasantly surprised, as everyone – nurses, doctors, nuns, and other nursing stuff – was always smiling at us, always eager to explain what bothered us, always happy to answer the dumbest questions of ours.

 

Therefore, today I want to say how grateful I am that my brother was so lucky. I am also grateful that he discovered this freaking disease early enough and thus, there was less space left for the disease to start mess with his body in a hard way. I am so proud and so happy I have my wonderful brother and also satisfied I was able to be with him during those crazy days. (And to freak out about it, just a little bit. O:) )

 

 

Take care until the next time!

With love

 

Wicked And Clever

 

Šárka

The Positive Diary #8 – Ability to cherish our memories

12th October 2018 – We all know these days when we have to do something, some visits or some work we aren’t entirely into. I was wondering today, how I will manage to survive my today’s obstacle, and I was thinking about gratitude from the moment I opened my eyes this morning. I was home alone, with my dogs only, so I had time and space to think it through. At first, I thought I will be grateful for things I have already discovered and wrote about, but then I remembered something from my past and started to laugh loudly and from the heart.

 

My today’s task is not going to be as dramatic as it might sound– we have planned a visit at my mother’s-in-law. The weird thing is, these people are always very nice to me – or I can at least say, they try to – but during the nights there I have these most awful episodes of sadness, inescapability, and I just feel trapped in a life I don’t necessarily want to live. It is a horrifying state of mind. Therefore, no one can possibly wonder why I am so worried when we are almost on the way there.

 

But, and I need to stress this, I am living a new life now. And I don’t want to ruin it. Therefore, I hope I will be able to live it through with a gratitude I am trying to cultivate here through my positive diary notes. Today, I want to write about our ability to cast almost forgotten memories back at the moments we tend to lose our hope.

 

My happy memory, the one that made me laugh this morning, isn’t that old. It came from this June when me, my classmates and teachers spend five incredible days in Jeseniky Mountains. The memory involves a story about me and one of my best friends being drunk, but the funniest part – in retrospective, it definitely didn’t seem funny back then – was when we were climbing a mountain the day after, in the most sunny and warm weather and with the second greatest hangover I have ever had. The jokes and quotes about how we are going to die very soon was comical. And except that we felt very sick, it was a perfect day.

 

I love to think about my memories like if they were ordered as books in a book shelves in my private room where I am the only one person able to entre. And when I feel sad, broken or lonely, when I am trying to remember something, I can go through them page by page and search and live it again and feel these emotions again. I believe that we can learn to focus more on the books which contains happy beautiful memories and we can cherish them in these moments when we feel down.

 

I know it is better to live our lives in the present moment, but sometimes we have no other choice than to live something inconvenient through. And in these moments, it is better to grasp any helping hand we can than not to do it.Our heads can be mighty allies while fighting. So, let’s be thankful for this ability to resist bad thoughts by remembering the good ones from the past – or maybe by daydreaming the ones that are yet to come.

 

I wish you the most joyful, colorful and memorable weekend!

 

With love

 

Wicked And Clever

 

Šárka

The Positive Diary #7 – Stealing some time just for ourselves

8th October 2018 – Tell me, my friend, how was your weekend? Mine was, after what felt like ages, very peaceful and I was able to dedicate some time to myself only. And it felt great!

 

I found some time to practice yoga on both evenings. I managed to write articles and fiction, too. I edited another video which was my goal I set for the last two weeks. I also found some time to clean a bit, but not to get crazy about it or super tired. I took time to enjoy the silence and peacefulness of being at home on my own. I posted on Instagram but didn’t spend entire day scrolling down. I managed to stay calm when my husband tried to make me angry. I cooked delicious meals for myself and ate them with love. And most importantly – I have enjoyed every minute of it!

 

Today, I would like to appreciate these moments we steal for ourselves because these are the basic steps towards happiness and gratitude. I feel like we always crave for the love of others but sometimes we forget to give love and care to ourselves to begin with. It took me some time to learn it and then again it took me some time to actually live by this rule but now I am not surprised I wasn’t feeling happy and whole back then.

 

We are sometimes taught as we grow up that the self-love and self-care is a selfish thing. I say f.ck it! There should always be balance in everything we do, otherwise the nice things stop to make us happy. Therefore, we should always remember, while giving so much love and care to others, we shouldn’t forget about ourselves either.

 

Be grateful with me today, for being able to steal some time for ourselves and for doing so with a deep love and understanding.

No regrets allowed here. 🙂

 

Have a wonderful evening, my friend, no matter what you are up to!

 

With love,

Wicked And Clever

Šárka

Krkonoše Treetop Trail: Trip to an Extraordinary Lookout Tower

In a new video I posted today on YouTube, you can see one of our summer trips during our vacation in Krkonoše Mountains, Czech Republic. I have to say that the lady at the ticket office seemed to be quite strict when she didn’t allow us to take a small chihuahua in a bag with us and that made my stay there tiny bitter. And as you will learn in the video, I honestly expected little bit more than what we’ve got, basically because there were so many people talking about this new popular kind of lookout towers.

 

 

But I don’t want to be only negative for sure. There are plenty reasons why you might want to visit the place as we did. Firstly, the building and its structure is very unusual and in a playful mood you can find yourself enjoying just the way it all works together. The informational stops are definitely interesting and even though they are not thorough or packed with knowledge, they plant a seed of a doubt and start to question the way we usually think about forests and wood. There is also hidden world of soil and roots at the basement of the tower itself and even here you can find and learn many new interesting things.

 

The tower is open every day except on the 24thDecember, therefore you can visit the place at any time you will. Like I said at the beginning, the place isn’t very pet friendly, so you might want to leave you dogs at home. It could destroy the whole trip as one of you would have to wait outside with the dog. The easiest way to get to the tower, which is situated in Janské Lázně town, is by a car. You can also go by a bus but you will have to change to another bus at least once during the three hour way from Prague.

 

While being in Krkonoše, especially when you are not a ski lover or when you are visiting during the summer, the treetop trail is one of the most attractive places to visit, despite the high entrance prices. I believe that if you won’t follow the hype around it and if you will leave your pets at home, it can be a decent experience.

 

Have you already been there? Are you planning to go?

 

Let me know what your opinion is and have a great time!

 

Learning Tip #1: Start now!

As I was thinking through what I actually can do pretty well to share it with you and to make your life more comfortable through my advices, I realized there is a one thing in which I excel: Studying!

You might say that I am a nerd, but it wasn’t always like this. I needed to find this role and now – I basically cannot imagine my life without learning new things, without deadlines for essays and without the stress before and relief and joy after I take a difficult exam. I believe I got used to this role by conquering certain ways of studying, focusing and putting my studies always first.

If you wonder how I did it, today is your lucky day! I have decided to create a new series about getting better at school or at studying itself because, let’s face it, you don’t need to be at university or high school to will to learn something new, right?

 

My first advice might seem trivial, but I remember how many times I’ve failed to follow it myself. If you want to get better at something, anything, you should start immediately. There will not be better time to start and if you manage to begin to work on your projects now, you will avoid the emotional breakdown at the end of the semester as the deadlines start to attack your sanity.

The same rule applies to difficult exams. In case you are a jittery student in the same way as I am, you can trust me on this – by preparing responsibly and in time you will be able to reduce your stage fright to only a necessary level. That is because you will know, while going to the exam, that you put the maximum effort into preparing yourself for the exam.

By starting now, I don’t necessarily mean you should lock yourself up in a school library and shouldn’t go out until the exam period is over. I only mean that continuous preparing is much better than only spending some time with the study material right before the exam. As I know from my experience, everything is easier to remember when you heard of it several times in the past. And the same works for studying.

 

You can now weigh how much effort will it cost you to start with just a few baby steps now comparing to how stressed and nervous you will be if you let it be until the deadlines threaten with open fire on you (trust me, I’ve been there).

 

Choose wisely. 🙂

 

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The Positive Diary #6 – Gratitude for the daily life

1st October 2018 and the week after – Dear Diary, it has been already few days since you heard from me last time. The reason is simple – I was out of office for several days with my master program. And how the story went, it made me realize how terribly grateful I am for the luxury of my own comfortable and fulfilled life.

 

The first hint – when we lost our signals on our phones. We felt little bit uncomfortable because we knew all of us has someone home who wishes to know that the traffic was okay, and we made it to the camp safely. Fortunately, our friend with his car was there too so he was able to drive us to find the lost signal, at least to let people know we arrived in one piece. Social media and other fun were out of business for that time as well but that is not always a bad thing, right?

 

The second hint – when we saw our accommodation. It was this ugly filthy small shack with several beds and a draught. Given that the night temperatures were forecast to be around zero, I was little bit scared every evening and wondered if I will make it through the night. I have to admit my sleeping bag wasn’t in a good condition and I truly underestimated how cold nights could actually be there.

 

And the third hint – when few of our classmates started to be sick with gastric flu. Not only there was no signal and no place to take a rest, no one wanted to be infected because our day trips on this particular outside block class are sometimes very challenging and there is no way you could use a bathroom when you are sick. You can’t simply because you are all day long outside in a terrain.

 

This made me feel incredibly grateful for what I have in my daily life. Just the option of taking a nap in a nicely warm room, hidden in your blanket and cuddling with your dogs, is a pure happiness. Being able to connect with people is also very convenient and I would say once you get used to it there is no way back.

 

So today I wanted to say how grateful I was this whole week for what I have in my life. I know there are so many people out there – no matter if I’m talking about our society or people outside of it – who aren’t that lucky. I have a roof over my head, I have a warm bed with two living and breathing heaters in a form of chihuahuas, I am on my path to fulfill my dreams and I am surrounded mostly by people who makes me stronger and prouder of who I am. I have everything that matters.

 

 

I wish you to have the most amazing weekend!

 

 

With love,

Wicked And Clever

Šárka

 

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The Positive Diary #5 – Ability to learn new languages

25th September 2018 – Let me tell you a story about one of my lovely friends. You have actually already heard about her here several times. She is this almost mysterious, sweet, heart-equipped human being, fragile but always fighting. I haven’t seen her almost for a year by now but we are still having this small but very important discussions about life with the use of our iPhones. These talks always help me to realize certain things in their whole weight and size. Even today I came to realize something I was thinking about for some time.

And that is of course the reason why today I want to talk about our ability to learn foreign languages.

As you might have already noticed, I am a Czech native speaker who developed her English language skills into the point you can see here, on my Instagram and in my new video on YouTube. As such, I realized I’m not quite the same person when I use one language or the other. There are simply some things I would never dare to say in Czech but in English it feels almost natural to me to say them. And that includes dreaming big, telling people how special they are and also the love and respect we should give to ourselves.

Therefore, I am grateful today for our ability to learn and speak foreign languages. With learning one, we accept the rythm of its sentences and the laws of its grammar, we absorb it into our DNA and we let the language smoothly change our perspective of the world, of our dreams and even of ourselves. By learning single one foreign language I’m able to live two separate lives. And I will bet that if I would start to speak fluent a third language, I would be able to live three.

What are your “other languages”? Have you experienced this effect too? And which languagues do you plan to learn for way too long but you actually never had the time to do it?

I hope one day I will have a life as a Spanish person as well. And until then I will be grateful for living in the era in which knowledge is accessible within my arms reach.

Have a wonderful evening!

Yours

Wicked And Clever

Šárka

The Positive Diary #4 – Fighting our demons and weaknesses

23rd September 2018 – Today I managed to fight and win over one of my biggest fears on my way to fulfil my dreams. Today was the day when I published my first video on YouTube. I am very grateful for overcoming this fear of mine. After all – it is said the hardest steps towards our goals are the first ones. The pain for me was hidden in the need to step out of my comfort zone and to show the world (even when there are just a few who saw the video) who actually I am.

 

I am grateful today for finding the strength to publish the video. When you fight your low self-confidence and other anxieties this little thing can mean world to you. And it should!

 

Let’s be proud of ourselves today for these small everyday victories we fight for. It doesn’t matter what it is you need to overcome on a daily basis but – you need to be proud of yourself that you are still fighting! Whether it is depression, anxiety, low self-confidence, eating disorder, bad habit or something completely different – you are still here, and you are fighting back. And that is all that matters, that is the one thing you should remind yourself every day.

 

It is time for us to show a little bit respect and love to ourselves.

 

I always say: Who else, if not me… 🙂

 

Have a wonderful rainy, foggy and windy evening!

 

Yours

Wicked And Clever

Šárka