Tips to Accelerate Your Language Learning at the Academy

March 25, 2014

1. Ask questions - The quickest way to learn new vocabulary is to ask questions when speaking to your RA’s, teachers and friends and make the most of opportunities for conversation. The RA’s will be with you or near you during most of your downtime so you’ll always have the opportunity to learn new vocabulary from them.

2. Repeat new words - It can get a bit overwhelming when new words are flying around you all the time. I found that I remembered new words much better when I repeated them and tried to use them in my conversations afterwards as much as possible.

3. Use your dorm room - Jasmine mentioned on her blog that she used flashcards posted on her dorm wall to help her learn new vocabulary. I saw a lot of people doing similar things when I was at MMLA; it’s an awesome idea that I can tell you really works.

4. Keep an organized notebook - When I went to MMLA last summer I fell into the habit of writing new words on random pages of my notebook and trusting myself to remember words without writing them down. This made it difficult for me to review vocabulary I learned at MMLA once I got home. I recommend bringing a hard-covered notebook so that it doesn’t fold in your bag and using highlighters or different colored pens to keep you organized. If you’ll be studying Chinese, square-ruled books designed for writing Chinese characters will help too.

Katya Pollock is a ninth grade student from Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada. Last summer, she attended MMLA at Green Mountain College to improve her Mandarin Chinese proficiency. Outside of MMLA, Katya studies Mandarin with an at-home tutor. This summer, she’s enrolled in the Chinese Academy at Swarthmore.