Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Improving your language skills

Improving your language skillsLearning a language is valuable whatever your career, but many people stop when they leave school. Find out how to improve your skills.

Take a class

There are lots of different language classes available, run by universities, colleges, adult learning centres and private tutors. You can find them by searching online or by looking for adverts in local papers.

Group lessons with private teachers are often cheaper, but the choice of languages is likely to be more limited. Private language teachers are often native speakers offering language tuition alongside their day job, so it's down to chance whether there is someone available in your area.

If you're already a university student, you might be able to go to classes at your university for a reduced fee. If you want to improve your language skills to help with your job, ask your employer if they will help with the cost.

Study online

As well as traditional classes, there are many language courses available online, such as those offered by the BBC. These are often free, and can be more convenient than going to classes in person because you can study at your leisure. However, you won't get the advantage of having conversations with a real person, and it will be harder to concentrate on specific areas that cause you problems.

Join a conversation group

If you want to practise rather than taking a formal class, you could try a conversation group. At these groups, people who want to gain more experience speaking a language meet up to talk. It's a chance to socialize as well as learn your chosen language, and some groups will organize other activities such as quiz or music nights that introduce you to the culture of the country as well.

In some cases, these will be language exchanges, which bring together speakers of two different languages to give both groups the chance to practise. For example, at a French/English exchange you might spend half the evening speaking French and half speaking English.

Spend time abroad

One of the best ways to improve at speaking a language is to immerse yourself in it by spending time abroad. This is an expensive option if done for its own sake, but it can be easier to afford if you combine it with work or study. Many university courses offer the chance to study in another country for a year, and employers that operate in more than one country might provide opportunities to spend some time working abroad.

Related links