Language Study Buddy.. Do you need one?
What role does a study buddy fill? And how can they help your language learning?
You might think what the hell is this? Honestly, I had the same question when I first heard about this approach in learning a new language. Have you heard about mastermind principle? Those of you who said yes, well, it is basically the same, but the focus is on achieving your language proficiency goals.
What is a Study Buddy?
It means different things to different people.
It could be a friend that studies the same language, but so far achieved a higher level.
It could be a person that studies the same language at the same level together with you.
It could also be a native speaker of the language you are learning, who wants to learn your native language. This is an absolutely win-win situation! When you meet up online or in-person, you spend half of the time learning one language and half for another one. It is called language exchange.
You could study different topics and even languages, but meet regularly to hold each other accountable, which is similar to mastermind concept. Buddy would not check new words that you’ve learned, but keeping in mind that you will be questioned on the progress, encourage you to make efforts staying on track to achieve your goal.
Study Buddy tips
Find someone on the same level with you
Coming back to the definition of study buddy, it has different meaning to different people, and therefore would vary in “right level”. Choose which group you belong in first place. But how?
Ask yourself the following questions:
Do you prefer to learn from advanced people, who have enough experience and know what challenges you might go through? Then choose the buddy who has a higher level in the language you want to learn.
Do you like to study together and share your thoughts? Then choose someone on the same level with you, who you can meet in your class or online group and even on one of the language learning platforms. Choice to Speak language school encourages students to choose their buddy for the period of completing the course. Later, they may continue to learn together and achieve better results. Guess what? If you prefer the same language, does it mean you might have similar interests in other things?
Do you enjoy learning from others and also want to teach your peers? Well, in this case, language exchange best suits you.
Do you get motivated when someone holds you accountable for your results? Then mastermind concept is the perfect solution.
The fastest test ever!
Find someone as committed as you are
It’s most important part I would say! You definitely don’t want a study buddy for a week or one month. The whole concept is to establish long-term relationships for the purpose of getting results and achieving your end goal – to speak the language you learn.
Most probably, you will be looking for the buddy who is as committed as you are or even more.
Set goals, share with your study buddy and keep the record
Setting the goal makes you motivated, sharing your goal keeps you accountable, and writing it down and breaking into smaller milestones makes the goal achievable.
The rule of thumb is SMART approach to setting the goal.
Make sure your buddy aims to the same, so you both move in one direction.
Once you have established the path, break the target into annual, monthly, and weekly milestones. Depending on your meetings regularity, you might want to share your achievements to keep each other motivated.
Let’s say you want to learn Arabic language from scratch and your study buddy also never learned Arabic before. So, both of you set the annual goal to complete Level A2. Then you break it into months: learn the alphabet in January, Present and Future tenses in February, etc. Weekly tasks have to be even more specific with particular topics to be completed from the course or book.
Arrange regular meetups
To stay on track, consistency is the key. Set the time and day in your calendar and, no matter what, be at the meeting and be prepared. If you or your study buddy start cheating and completing course partially or even constantly canceling the meetings, it is an alarming sign.
Arranging a regular time to meet and discuss your progress will be beneficial for both of you and definitely boost your motivation.
All of a sudden, you won’t just be learning new stuff to grow your own personal vocabulary, you will get used to sharing it with your study buddy in your weekly meetings. You would, most probably, want to give some new valuable knowledge to your buddy each week and this would push you to go deeper and find more information to share. This way, you would learn from each other even more.
Keep in touch in between your meetings
You’ll want to find a buddy that you feel comfortable with and are able to share your thoughts in between your meetings. I know, it sounds weird, but it is the case when you meet a new person and still don’t know them well.
Make an effort to get to know your buddy: their hobbies, daily routine, what they like to eat, etc. Depending on how approachable they are, it can be easier to reach out without a fair of disturbing your study buddy. You need to feel that you can add comments and be useful find will be appreciated and not annoyed. If you feel the other way, it is not a good sign.
Be open to share your failure as well as success
Ok, that is even more important. Remember: your study buddy is not your competitor!
The first thing sometimes is a failure. Making a mistake is normal, this way human beings are learning. Making your own mistakes is even more beneficial than just learning from others. Getting things wrong is an essential part of successful language learning so be as proud of your mistakes as you are of your wins.
The rule of thumb: Mistakes = Progress.
Another challenge for someone is sharing their success. Many people feel shy to highlight what they achieved in the past week. 👉🏻Even small progress needs to be spotlighted. Make it a habit to point on each others success and be open to share your small achievements.
If you turn up to a meeting with your study buddy after a relatively “light” week when it comes to language learning for whatever reason, be honest with your study buddy. They’ll be grateful to you for being open and honest and they would be open with you too.
Now, don’t get me wrong, you have a study buddy, not a moan buddy! So you don’t want your meetings to turn into ‘moanfest’.
Where to start?
Now you know what you are looking for and it’s time to buddy up. You may find a buddy anywhere, just look around. Don’t see? 😁
Well, let’s try to look online. There are many platforms and social groups on the web. Use hashtags on social networks to lead you to the people learning what you’re learning as well. You also may want to check out Choice to Speak Facebook Group and Instagram account, where students from different countries may be learning the same language as you are.
Offline options could be coffee shops, local information boards at community centres, universities and colleges or even something like offline meetups for people with similar interests.
Once you come across someone interesting, be clear on your goals and desired achievements. Tell about what language you learn and on which level you are, how you suggest to meet (online or offline), how often and how long the meetings will last. Be specific on how it will benefit both of you and stay open for suggestions.
Of course, not everyone will respond right away. Some people might think you’re coming on too strong, others might not be looking for a study buddy and that’s fine. It just means that when you do find your true study buddy, you’ll appreciate them even more!
Founder of Choice to Speak & Choice to Travel. Business Analyst. Hyperflexible stubborn.
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