My family and I have a couple of road trips planned over the next couple of months. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t love road trips and never have. I’m like a child in the car: “Are we there yet? Are we there yet?” I get bored and fidgety and irritable whenever I’m in the car too long.
For this upcoming season of summer road trips, I have a plan, though. A language learning plan. At a high level, it’s this: optimize my time in order to progress in my target language, German. If I’m in the car for five hours, I should at least be two hours better by the end of the trip than I was at the beginning.
As for the actual plan for my next road trip (five hours one way), I haven’t finalized it yet, but here’s a rough outline:*
- Listen to and work through a lesson of Pimsleur Plus (30 minutes)
- Listen to a podcast by a native German speaker in a topic that interests me (15 minutes)
- Listen to a German learning podcast (10 minutes)
- Do five Duolingo lessons (10 minutes)
- Go through Anki flashcards (10 minutes)
- Read in my parallel English-German book (20 minutes)
- Listen to German music on Spotify or Hoopla (30 minutes)
- Write two video scripts to be edited on Lang-8 (20 minutes)
- Read a children’s book in German to my toddler (2 minutes if I’m lucky because he doesn’t like books)
In all the above activities, I will have covered three of the four pillars of language learning: listening, reading and writing, and I will have kept my mind occupied so that I don’t lose it to boredom and frustration. By the end of the trip, my head should be so bursting with my language study that I’m able to rest it the next day (i.e., be content in taking a one-day break from language learning) and then am able to get back after it on Sunday, the day of our return, when we’re in the car for another five hours.
Are you road-tripping too this summer? Make the most of your time in the car with your own language learning plan! If you’re like me and dislike road trips, it’ll make the travel more bearable.
*Note: This post assumes that you are the passenger instead of the driver. If you’re driving, do not attempt anything more than listening to Pimsleur or music in your target language. Safety for yourself, your passengers and your fellow drivers is the number one priority when you’re behind the wheel.