8 ways to maintain your language skills

8 ways to maintain your language skills

by Erin McGann
October 12, 2021

You’ve dedicated lots of time and effort to learning a new language – you want to avoid forgetting it! Take a look at our eight creative ways on how to maintain your language skills, whether you want to stay fluent or just keep your intermediate level up-to-date.

1. Make some language friends
2. Listen to music and sing along
3. Take a conversation class
4. Read the news
5. Follow creators on social media
6. Take a course
7. Watch TV
8. Switch your device language

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1. Make some language friends

Connect with a tandem conversation partner to keep your speaking skills fresh. Tandem language sessions usually involve connecting through informal meetings in a café or going for a walk with someone who wants to learn a language you know, and vice versa. You speak one language for a set amount of time, and then switch. If you’re at an intermediate level or higher in your target language, you can even try helping beginners learn too. There’s nothing like explaining a concept to really cement your own knowledge!

2. Listen to music and sing along

Many blogs will suggest listening to music in your target language, which is great, but it’s also good practice to take it to the next level and try to sing along. Lyrics are easy to find online, and there’s nothing like singing to improve your pronunciation. Regularly update your singalong playlists by checking streaming services or YouTube for the latest releases.

3. Take a conversation class

While tandem conversation sessions are great, if you really want to refresh your skills in a more structured way, try an online conversation class with Lingoda. All the teachers are native speakers, so you’ll not only get the correct grammar, but what people actually say in everyday life. You can do a conversation class in a group setting with up to four other students, or even one-on-one if you purchase private lessons. Either option can help you strengthen your conversation skills.

4. Read the news

Stay connected to current events in your target language community by reading the news online. This helps you with your reading comprehension, but also keeps your connection to the culture. It doesn’t always have to be current events – try other sections of these publications like food, travel, style and sports. It’s always good to get a different perspective on the world.

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5. Follow creators on social media

Track down some interesting creators on social media in your target language. They can be making content about learning the language, but don’t limit it to that. Look for food bloggers, sports commentators, comedians, and musicians to get a range of different language content. You can also look for other subjects that interest you, whether that’s talking parrots or toy unboxings. All that matters is they speak in the language you’re hoping to maintain.

6. Take a course

It doesn’t have to be a language course, but a course in something else entirely (as long as the class is in your target language). There are loads of online courses in everything you can think of online – from knitting and crocheting to car detailing and cooking. Turn on the subtitles, and enjoy learning about something new while maintaining your language skills at the same time.

7. Watch TV

Need an excuse to browse Netflix? Use it for refreshing your language skills. Ideally, pick a film or series that was made originally in your target language, rather than watching a dubbed version of something in your own language. We’ve all had the experience of watching something subtitled in another language and finding the translations not quite right! Watching films and series made in your target language will have the added benefit of using colloquial terms that can be hard to learn in a classroom setting.

8. Switch your device language

We’re always on our phones, so use that time to do a bit of language practice. Not by downloading an app, but by changing your device language. In your device settings, you can change the system-wide language on your phone. This will make every menu and button use your target language, so be prepared to see a lot of changes. Try it for a day or two a week to keep your language skills up to date.

Maintain your language skills

Take a look at our eight creative ways to maintain your language skills, whether you want to stay fluent or just keep your intermediate level up-to-date.

Start your 7-day free trial


Erin McGann is a Canadian freelance writer focusing on travel, living abroad, parenting, history, and culture. After nearly a decade living in the UK, Erin settled in Heidelberg, Germany with her husband and son. Dragging her family to every castle and open-air museum is a favourite activity, along with sewing, archery, and historical reenactment. You can check out her travel blog, and follow her obsession with half-timbered houses on her Instagram account.