We have all heard the rather daunting advice in those first few lectures on how much more wider reading and research we should be doing in order to really absorb ourselves in the language. It is hard to know where to begin and even harder to find the time to plough through the recommended reading lists; yet the key to really improving your language skills is to make it a part of your daily life.
Here are some of my favourite spots around the city for enhancing your language course outside the teaching rooms of 50 George Square.
The Tandem language exchange, run by the Edinburgh University Students’ Association, organise a social event called Speed Lingua, where you can grab a (free!) glass of wine, take a seat and prepare for a night of non-stop nattering. When I went there myself, I loved the relaxed and cosy atmosphere, and the chance to meet so many people in such a short space of time. Furthermore, since Edinburgh is such an international university, it is a perfect opportunity to meet people from around the world, especially native speakers of the language that you study. Everyone wears a sticker to show which languages they speak or are learning, and as you move along you are likely to find someone you have a language in common with.
For students studying French, the Institut Français d’Ecosse has an array of resources to aid your study including a huge collection of films, literature, and grammar books, as well as this week’s newspapers and magazines. Situated in New Town, it is the perfect place to spend some time sharpening your French, whether that be reading up on the latest goings-on in French politics, or simply chatting to the friendly staff. Last weekend the institute celebrated the European Day of Languages by offering free language taster classes, and there is plenty more on throughout the year, including regular film screenings, lectures, and art exhibitions, all of which will give you a more varied knowledge of French culture.
Image: Casey Gardner