It’s the start of a new academic term and new courses are about to begin. This is the perfect opportunity to set your goals, focus, and learn a new language.

But it may have been a long time since you were last in the classroom. Or you might be apprehensive about the first day of school. As we all know, this year (more than any other), will present a new set of challenges, so it’s important to be prepared.

What can you expect? How do you stay on track?

Read on for our back to school tips!


1. Ask yourself why you are learning


There are lots of reasons for learning a language. Understanding your own motivations can help you decide on the best way to approach your classes. If you want to be able to travel, then you’ll probably be more focused on General English. If you need to deal with international clients, you might want to consider Business English. Looking to live or study abroad? You may need a qualification like IELTS or Cambridge English. Your reasons for studying will help you decide which course you choose.


2. Remind yourself later down the line


It can be easy to forget why we start a new activity when things get tough. If you’re worried about losing motivation, try writing down ten reasons why you’re learning the language, and put them in your folder to remind yourself further down the road. Remember, the beginning is the fun part, but it’s not always going to be easy, and you might need that extra push in the future.

Here are some more back to school tips for how to be a good language learner!


3. Get your study survival kit together


Speaking of folders, get yourself a brand new one for the beginning of term. Invest in some section dividers to separate your notes into topics – that way you’ll have everything neatly presented. And don’t worry about a notebook, we give you your very own Oxford House one at the beginning of term!

Writing by hand has been shown to improve memory; so you may want to invest in some coloured pens to organise your notes and highlight different verb tenses. Anything to help make life easier when it comes to revision is good!


4. Be Covid-safe


It’s important to be cautious, and keep those around us safe too. That’s why we ask everyone to wear a mask in and around the school at all times. This includes in the classroom where social distancing rules apply. And if you’re worried about people not being able to understand you, you could make your own. Check out the picture of teacher Justin, taking mask fashion to the next level.

Teacher Justin | Back to school tips for language learners | Oxford House Barcelona

Teacher Justin taking mask fashion to the next level


We recommend you also use the hand sanitizer available when coming into contact with different areas. It may take some getting used to at the beginning of term, but we promise it won’t affect the fun!


5. Find yourself a study buddy


Just because you’re learning a language on your own, doesn’t mean you have to do it alone. Partner up with someone on your first day – someone that can hold you accountable. That way you always have someone to study with, or help you out if you miss a class and need to find out the homework. Even if your classes are online, thanks to our learning platform OH Connect, you can still keep contact and get that much needed human interaction.


6. Set yourself mini challenges


As we mentioned before, when the initial excitement of learning a language begins to fade, it can be difficult to stick with it.

That’s why it’s important to set yourself small challenges. This could be as simple as reading the newspaper without needing a dictionary, or being able to watch a whole episode of ‘Gossip Girl’ without Spanish subtitles. Whatever it is, try to set yourself one mini challenge a week for the first term.


7. Set yourself realistic goals


Once you’ve taken the baby steps and accomplished some smaller challenges, then you can move on to bigger, more long-term goals; like passing an exam or applying for a job in English. This will ensure you keep studying and help you master the language at a whole new level.

As Donavan Whyte, vice president of education at enterprise at Rosetta Stone says: “Language learning is best when broken down into manageable goals that are broken down that are achievable over a few months.”


8. Use your phone


We spend so much time on our phones, it makes sense to channel all that time in a healthy way. If you use social media, follow language learning accounts such as our own. There are so many virtual teachers out there on Instagram, TikTok and Youtube.

Follow us here:

Oxford House on Instagram

Oxford House on Facebook

Oxford House on LinkedIn

Language learning apps are useful for the basics. It’s important to remember, though, that they don’t offer you that face-to-face speaking time. They should be used as a supplement to your in-school classes. Memrise and Quizlet are really fun apps for memorising vocabulary. And WordReference is a fabulous little dictionary tool for English and Spanish translations.

5 Great Apps To Give Your English A Boost | Oxford House Barcelona

Your phone itself can be an amazing device for everyday learning. Try changing your language settings to the one you are learning. Record voice memos to practise your speaking, or jot down new words on go in the ‘notes’ section.


9. Speak, speak, speak


The beginning of term can be scary. But when learning a language, conversation is king. When speaking with real people, you are far more motivated than if you’re staring at a book or listening to an audiobook. And what’s great is you don’t need to know a lot to start talking. Studies show that 100 of the most common words in any language account for 50% of all communication. So you can get on the ground running with any language app, then join a conversation class to put it all into practice and the conversation will start flowing.

Would you like to know more about our new courses starting in September? Check out our website!

Glossary for Language Learners


Find the following words in the article and then write down any new ones you didn’t know.

Tough (adj): difficult.

Further down the road (exp): in the more distant future.

Neatly (adv): well organised or tidy.

Getting used to (v): to become accustomed to something.

Hold you accountable (exp): to ask someone to explain why or why not they do something.

Fade (v): to disappear gradually.

Stick with it (exp): to maintain a hobby or activity.

Jot down (pv): to make notes.


adj = adjective

exp = expression

adv = adverb

v = verb

pv = phrasal verb

Study English at Oxford House Barcelona

Interested in taking an English course at Oxford House Barcelona? Check all of our different English courses, or contact us for more information.

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