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What is Your Learning Style?

         Today I want to talk about autonomous learning and what that means for you.      You might have read on this blog before, or somewhere else for that matter, that all adults learn differently - or at least that every adult has a different framework around what learning means, how it should occur, and which conditions are needed in order for it to happen. This is because we've all had a certain school career, where teachers and administrators structured everything for us, for the most part.  (This, of course, depends on where you live. My experience is of American public school.)       I remember hearing about learning styles in school. I got to experience it first hand as well. Some of my teachers would have us move around the room, do things with our left and right arms, legs, and experiment with games and try out other teaching methods. I'm grateful to have those memories to draw on.      We learn every day as a part of our growing up, but when we become adults, we c

TYAL Gets a Makeover

 You guys might have noticed I have changed the look of the blog a little bit. I feel like it needed a refresh! There aren't a lot of things I can do through, which is the host I use to manage this website at the moment. In the future, I want to give it a complete makeover and make it easy to find information, find products, subscribe by email, access free downloads, and contact me. One thing I have learned both with language acquisition and business is that small steps forward are key. As long as you are making progress, it doesn't matter how slow you are moving. In fact, slow, steady progress can be more impactful than big leaps in the direction of your goals. So I will try to apply this to as well :) I hope you are all enjoying the material available here so far. If you ever have a question, feel free to comment or fill out the contact form / subscription form in the sidebar menu! I hope to hear from you. Xx, Alison

Expats: Getting Locals to Speak to You in Your Target Language

A year or more ago, I was at a Christmas fair in the Netherlands and I passed a booth ran by a Language School. They were giving away buttons that said "Speak Dutch to Me" (in Dutch of course). I thought this was just brilliant!  One of the most aggravating things about learning a language in a foreign country where everyone speaks English is that when you are trying to order your food or perform another transaction in your target language, many of them hear your accent and ask if it's easier to switch to English. I found that at least half the time during my first 6 months in the Netherlands, that was the case.  Most natives switch to English because they want to practice their  foreign language, too. Either that or they just want to help. But what if switching to English doesn't help? What if you want  them to carry on and let you struggle a little bit until both of you come to an understanding?  You can wear the button around, or you can wear one of these shirts or

How to Find the Right Foreign Language Podcast (and How to Use it to Maximize Your Learning)

          With Podcasts growing in popularity and becoming one of the most common ways to learn new things delve into interesting topics, and even receive news, it's no surprise that many language learners have thought about using them as a way to get better at their target language. There are even podcasts specifically for language instruction, offered in different dialects from around the world.       But are they all worthwhile? Should you choose a language instruction podcast or find something geared toward native speakers? If the latter is better, how do you find a good podcast? What can you search for?   How do you find one with easy-to-digest content that will still challenge you at your current level?     I hope to answer some of your questions in this post! If you have something to add, don't be afraid to post a comment at the bottom of the page, we are all trying to get better at our target language(s) and everyone has a slightly different way of learning, your feedb

How a VPN Service Can Help Your Language Studies

Hi learners!      It's been a little while since a new post came out on TYAL. Life gets busy, am I right? But we can pick our goals and hobbies back up at any time. So here I am.      Today I wanted to share with you one of my favorite paid services, which I use to watch foreign films, Netflix shows that are only available in certain countries, and a few other random things that it comes in handy for.       It's called a VPN service . Have you heard of it before?      A VPN service basically changes your IP address and reroutes it through the country or region that you choose. For those of you who don't know, your IP address changes depending on which internet router you're connected to, and one of the things it can indicate is where in the world you are.      For companies that use targeted ads, and streaming services like Netflix or YouTube, your IP address can change what you see when you're online . Because of privacy laws that change from country to country,

Week One of Working Freelance in My Target Language

Week one of my first freelance project in another language is over... and thank God it is!  I started the week super excited, ready to write down all the new words that I'd come across and handle each new day and challenge head on.  At the end of my first day on the job, I took the time to create a beautiful automated Google sheet to study and test myself, using all the words I'd translated in Google that day. I figured I would continue adding to it in the coming weeks and review it periodically. ... But I was pretty ambitious to think I would hold the same gung-ho attitude all week, even after challenging days and working long hours. The truth is, I ran out of steam pretty quickly. The job description: read long documents of Dutch text and correspond with three different people who were each changing the text in their own ways, to add their research and modifications. After reading and reviewing their changes, I then had to leave comments about what needed work, send it back f

How Long Does It Take to Learn a Language?

As I'm scrolling through the timeline, I see ads all the time like, "Become Fluent in Under a Year!" or "The Secret to Learning Languages" or "Learn ____ in 3 months!" and honestly, they always seem gimmicky to me. But I understand the need to know how long it takes to learn a new language. So what's the answer?  It's a never-ending process. You will never not be learning your new language. You will never be "done". There are some things that you just can't rush. A good pie, a work of art, and learning a language.  One factor of successful language learning is being realistic about the demands of learning a language. 1   Furthermore, adults do not learn productively when they are under strict time constraints. 2 And actually, you don't have to be fluent to be able to communicate in another language.   So is your goal to be fluent in 3 months? Or is it to know intricacies in your target language? Have a long and deep connectio