How To: Survive a College-Level Foreign Language Class

August 7, 2012 Amanda Cross 4 min read
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Foreign Language classes are kind of difficult, but they are a must have if you plan on graduating with any kind of Bachelor’s of Arts degree. If you are like me and taking the exact amount needed to get a BA this will hopefully help you. I can’t speak the same for people who plan to major or minor in a foreign language because you probably have more knowledge of a language in your pinky than I have in my entire hand (if that makes any sense at all.)

 How To: Survive A College-Level Foreign Language Class | If  you don't have a lot of foreign language experience, taking it in college can seem hard to manage, but it doesn't have to be. Click through for tips to survive a college-level foreign language course.

Before College Tips

Here are some tips to give yourself the extra push before you even get to college.

Take Foreign Language In High School

Seriously I don’t know how much this has been helping me. I am re-learning things I already knew in high school all throughout my semesters in Spanish. It has been really helpful because I know a lot of the vocabulary already.

Take The Foreign Language, And Take It Seriously

Don’t just goof off, pay attention because eventually you may need the skills it taught you later.

Work On Your Writing Skills

It’s strange in college we were never taught really how to put sentences together, if that makes sense. In high school we wrote everyday, but in college it’s mostly learning about parts of the sentence, and then your kind of expected to know how to put it all together. It’s hard to explain, but just make sure you are writing.

Work On Your Listening And Reading Comprehension Skills

Your language teachers will probably talk mostly in that language throughout the class period, so just make sure you are able to follow along or at least get the gist of it. They will also speak in the normal language to, but it’s nice to be able to know what they say the first time instead of having a blank look on your face.

During College Tips

Once you get into college here are some more tips on the actual foreign language courses.

Stay The Course

I know you may want to experiment with Mandarin Chinese after taking two years of Spanish in high school. You may have heard Mandarin is a good language to learn, but don’t be (for lack of the better word) stupid. If you took Spanish in high school at least stay with languages in the same family such as French. Don’t completely abandon the language you took, especially if you are just trying to earn a BA. You want easy grades, not really difficult ones.

Buy The Book

Foreign Language books are one of those books you can’t afford to not buy. For one I know that I use my Spanish book everyday in class. For two there are too many examples you will be missing out on if you don’t buy it. Buying the book will make your foreign language experience much easier.


Flashcards work wonders. Quiz yourself everyday to make sure you know not only vocabulary, but grammar and sentence structure. Test usually consist of listening, vocabulary, grammar, reading comprehension, and writing. It’s important that you brush up on all that stuff when studying.

Go To Class

Foreign language classes are not the classes to skip unless you are super sick. You need to go to class to turn in homework, listen to the teacher speak, get clues about what the tests will consist of, et cetera. If you could skip any class, please try to keep this one to a minimum!

Ask For Help

Sometimes any professor can get kind of rushed if they believe everyone is working on the same level field. I think that foreign language teachers are way more helpful at explaining things if you need help. So don’t be afraid to stop the teacher and ask for clarification if they are moving a bit too fast. They should understand that you are learning a new language so you may need a few extra examples sometimes.

Don’t Hold Back

You may be asked to do any amount of odd and strange things for your Spanish class. Such as a lot of practice speaking with other students, doing skits in front of the class, and even playing charades with your classmates. Foreign language classes are the kind of classes that don’t really let you slack off. You need to be able to be a little bit outgoing in some classes. Whether that’s approaching a person to partner with or going up in front of the class and speaking in Spanish.

These are my tips for surviving a foreign language class. I hope you high schoolers, incoming freshman, and even upperclassmen benefited from this blog.

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About Amanda

Hey Y’all!
My name is Amanda Cross, and I am the blogger behind The Happy Arkansan. I am a blogger, freelance writer, and podcaster. When I am not creating content for any of my content online, I can usually be found baking, watching YouTube, or napping. I love helping millennials and young adults navigate the mess that is adult life. Keep reading for my thoughts and experiences.

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