And when I come back... part 2
The series continues : More ideas for keeping your level ... whatever language you've been studying. In this series, we are talking about a language you have already learned. You've travelled to the country on séjour linguistique (study abroad), studied in a school (une école de langue ou école secondaire) and now you want to keep the progress you've made.
The idea behind listening to Podcasts (from the first part below) in the language your trying to keep up is not "active learning". Firstly, because it's not very "active" and secondly because it's not really "learning". Instead it's "lazy or passive retention".
In your down time, that is, on the train, in the bus, even a CD while driving, have on an English (ou Allemand, Italien Espagnol) broadcast that interests you. Surround yourself with the language. You will find, especially if the topic interests you, that you will listen to some of it - even if only from time to time - and that the input from the language will slow your rate of loss. You might even, accidentally, improve your comprehension or learn some more vocabulary. You'll be surprised how much you can learn from context and repetition.
The idea is to re-create, as much as possible, that world of total immersion (immersion totale) that you experienced while you were living in the country.
There are, of course, other ways to try to do this, too but they take more effort...
Keep in touch: Made some good friends in Australia or England or Scotland? Keep writing or even Skyping your old friends.
Change your life: Change everything you own to the language you want to learn ... your mobile phone, your computer etc etc. Just be careful that you can change it back!
On-line communities: Join one in the language. Write to people... (This is advice for adults! No responsibility is accepted for weirdos on the web or who you choose to correspond with! If you're too young ask your parents and be careful!!!)
Real-communities: If you live in Switzerland there are lots of expatriate communities you can infiltrate. Try joining a sports team...
The internet generally: There's masses of stuff. Explore...
Read: newspapers on the web, this blog, books. One of the best things you can do!
Active exercises: Buy a grammar book, or using the books from the school.
So there we go. Got any good ideas? if you've read this far in English... feel free to contribute them.