While a little free time now and then is critical for our mental wellbeing, when we have too much downtime, it can have the opposite effect.
How often can you watch the same TV shows or tidy up around the house before you start craving something new and different?
Rather than give into the doldrums of downtime, why not use the opportunity to level up your Arabic language skills?
It may take a little planning, time management, and preparation, but before you know it, you’ll be using new words and phrases without a second thought. Try a couple of these suggestions the next time you find yourself looking for something to do.
Build Vocabulary Lists
Have you had trouble finding time to really buckle down and memorize a list of important vocabulary words?
While everyone learns differently, memorizing an extensive list of words is unavoidable when you’re studying Arabic.
Rote memorization may not normally be your chosen learning method, but while you have some extra time, you can fill it by focusing on a new list of words every week.
Make your own list of words – some people find it helpful to keep these words themed around the same general topic – and keep it with you all week. As you walk around your house or your yard, pull the list out and review this week’s words. Getting some work done on the computer? Give the list another look between tasks.
If you find yourself with extensive downtime, then you can develop your memory and improve your language skills at the same time.
Watch Movies or TV in Arabic
“Binge watching” has become the go-to activity when there’s some time that needs to be filled. It’s just too easy to sit down with your favorite streaming service and let it take care of your entertainment for the next few hours.
Why not use that same time to do basically the same activity, but with a few more benefits?
You simply have to change up one or two little details.
There are some amazing movies and TV shows in Arabic that you can binge watch and make that viewing experience a little more productive.
Not ready to dive into Egyptian cinema yet? With a few Google searches you may be able to purchase some of your favorite English-speaking shows that have an Arabic dub. And there’s nothing quite as entertaining as watching some of your favorite actors “speaking” in a different voice and language.
Play Games in Arabic
Simple word games are a great way to pass the time. Instead of playing your favorite apps on your phone, take the opportunity to have some offline fun and try some Arabic word games with your friends and family.
Games are a natural resource when you have some downtime and you don’t know how to fill it. You can have a little fun, engage with people around you, and put your language skills to the test in a new and interesting way.
You don’t even need any professionally published games in Arabic. Some of the old games you have played in the past can fit the bill just as well. Imagine playing a Pictionary-style game but all the answers have to be given in Arabic. Or try a simple game of hangman where you only use the Arabic alphabet.
It’s a simple and fun solution to an abundance of free time.
What if you don’t have anyone to tell you how well you’re doing with the language (like a professional instructor)?
Then it’s up to you to establish some tests or quizzes that will help you to track your own progress.
This is tied closely to the vocabulary lists mentioned above, but it can apply to any other aspect of the language or the activities you use to learn something new.
For example: did you just watch a TV show in Arabic? Quiz yourself on the details and try to explain the plot in Arabic.
Did you play a Pictionary-style game in Arabic? Quiz yourself on the words that were used and make sure you remember them all.
There are a lot of simple ways to constantly test your skills and see exactly how much you are progressing.
Immerse Yourself in the Language at Home
Tidying and cleaning up around the house are great ways to spend your downtime.
But what if you went in a different direction?
By all means, take the time you need to really set your home in order – because then you can really set up your home for total immersion in Arabic.
Just imagine the possibilities.
Got an hour of downtime? Get together with your family and create a poster with this week’s vocabulary words on it.
Not sure what to do after your favorite TV program is over? Why not turn on an audio track or video that features someone speaking in Arabic?
Still working on vocabulary? Spend a little time and make labels for all the everyday objects around the house and attach them to the object in obvious places. This makes it possible to dive into the language and culture and keep it fresh in your mind – even during downtimes.
Looking for More Ideas?
At Arab Academy, we have all the online Arabic resources you need to make the most of your free time. Whether you’re looking for new lessons, the opportunity to speak one-on-one over video chat with a native speaker, or games and stories for the kids to enjoy, you can find some great options here.