Actually, many of the top tips I gave in my first blog still apply to you even if you are already proficient/fluent. There are always new words or new idioms to learn and you need to be exposing yourself to as much of the culture and language as possible. In this blog post I am going to share with you my ideas for how you can stay on top of your game.
Firstly, if you are not living in the country or a country where they speak Spanish/Italian/French etc. you need to continue to make an effort to immerse yourself by listening to the radio and/or TV online. For Spanish I recommend RTVE or for Italian, RaiPlay. Try to listen as much as you can, ideally every day.
Secondly, surround yourself with as many native speakers as you can. I am sure you have friends abroad who speak your second language so socialise with them as much as possible! Communication methods such as Skype/WhatsApp/Facebook Messenger are SO good for this. If you can try to locate your nearest expat community, again Facebook/Gumtree is helpful for that. For example, if you live in Bristol there is the website or the respective Facebook page. You can always set up tandem language exchanges or join a conversation group as one of my German friends has done.
Thirdly, if you can afford to do so, travel to your country of choice as much as possible. Flights to Europe with Ryanair/Easyjet etc. are cheap when you book in advance so with a little planning it should be within a lot of people’s reach. Why not consider volunteering your time with a charity? A few years ago, I volunteered with a refugee charity in Rome and it was a good opportunity to use my Italian and my CELTA teaching certificate at the same time. It was also good for making good friends who I am in touch with today.
Also, try to read as widely as possible. I suggest reading biographies and newspaper articles as a good place to start maintaining your fluency. A subscription to an online newspaper such as would be a good investment or consult a webpage such as online newspapers (Spain / Italy). These seem comprehensive!
In addition, make the most of tools such as Spotify and YouTube to identify new artists to listen to in French/German/English etc. This stops your music collections becoming boring and boosts your vocabulary at the same time. Try to go to local international music or dance nights as well as these are good places for networking and honing your language skills as well as for enjoying yourself.
Consider starting a language learning blog! You can use your skills to help other learners and network at the same time. I really enjoy writing my blog and it has been great to receive positive feedback on it. What were the aspects of learning a language the hardest for you? Why not blog about it?
What about teaching your new language? It could be a really good way to keep your language current and up to scratch. There are plenty of good websites such as Verbal Planet or First Tutors that you could join. Mind you, you’ll probably have better success if you’ve got a formal qualification such as a degree, so you could consider that. However, if you gained fluency through substantial time living abroad that will also work. Failing that you can always become a conversation partner on a website such as italki.
Finally, why not consider taking free courses in your chosen language to learn new skills/accumulate new knowledge. For example, for Italian there is the site Federica and for English there is Coursera. I am currently taking a few courses on Future Learn which is also a useful website.
I hope this has been helpful! Of course, you can always learn a NEW language as well, if I can help with lessons for Italian, Spanish or English let me know!