Get Better, Feel Better

07/03/2013 17:18

How many times have you complained about the low quality of your studies, whined that without a chance to use your second language actively in everyday communication it just decays day after day? How often do you swear like a trooper when trying to cram all the useless stuff in your head? Well, there are teachers who actually listen to our whining. Lýdia Machová, teacher of simultaneous interpreting and practical English, is one of them.

She herself is a person who loves studying foreign languages. She decided to show students how to do something on their own if they are in real need of improving their language skills. On Tuesday, February 26, she organized a presentation on how to get better in foreign languages. The precious 60 minutes of the presentation were full of inspiring ideas, useful advice and insightful observations.

By courtesy of Lýdia Machová

There were two presenters – Lýdia Machová and Miroslav Kocian, their guest, Ivan Kupka, author of a book on how to successfully study foreign languages, and a bunch of motivated students who could share their experience and give some more useful advice to their fellow lovers of languages.

The presentation was divided into five blocks, each of them focusing on ways how to improve skills in listening, reading, speaking, writing and how to enrich one's vocabulary.

For those who missed the presentation, here is a list of the discussed topics, a couple of interesting websites and some other pretty cool stuff that can help you do something about your foreign language for free.

To improve your listening skills, visit the website how to learn any language, listing other websites, where you can download podcasts and audiobooks and find a whole lot of advice on learning foreign languages. 

To get more from reading materials, you should consider buying an e-book reader which these days offers you wide-ranging possibilities like searching new words in the inbuilt dictionaries making notes right in the e-book. If you want to keep up to date, download the program Calibre, which gives you a chance to read newspapers and magazines from all over the world. All you need to do is click on Fetch News at the top of the page.

Speaking with natives has never been easier! You have every chance to meet a random tourist in the city centre whole year round and thanks to Erasmus program, you can arrange to meet with students speaking exactly the language in which you want to get better. If you want to help international students studying here and communicate in a foreign language,  contact and become a buddy, i.e. a person taking care of an Erasmus student. If you do not have enough time for that, you can still join an Erasmus language exchange meeting. These foreign language conversations are held simultaneously. That means you can choose in which language you want to communicate right on the spot and switch between as many languages as you wish. You can also join a schoolmate tandem and exchange your knowledge with people from your school. For further information about both possibilities of communicating in a foreign language, contact Lýdia Machová (

If you need to have your papers proofread, feel free to post your text at Lang-8 and wait for native speakers to correct it and add some useful comments.

Last but not least, let's focus on improving your vocabulary. You should know the basic terms like SRS (spaced repetition system) and the goldlist method (if not, find it on the Internet as soon as possible). But as we Slovaks say, revision is the mother of wisdom, that's why there is another link for you, quizlet,  that will help you revise groups of words you choose yourself or use sets of words of other users.


There might be another presentation of this kind later on, so if you feel you need to improve your second language(s), if you like the idea of knowing how to organize your studies and persist in the planned schedule, how to learn without forgetting, and how to actually do something for your own good, make sure you don't miss it.


Zuzana Rajčáková