Language Clubs: The Ultimate Guide on How to Join or Start One
Language clubs are groups where like-minded language learners can meet up online or in person.
Studying a language on your own might be effective at the beginning, but meeting others who are learning the same language as you can be a huge source of motivation and accountability.
Here’s all you need to know to find a club or start your own, and get the most out of it!
- Where to Find Language Clubs Online or In Person
- How to Start Your Own Language Club
- What Can Your Language Club Do to Aid Learning?
- Why Join or Start a Language Learning Club?
- And One More Thing...
Where to Find Language Clubs Online or In Person
Finding an existing club is the quickest route to enjoying the benefits of a language club. There are plenty of language clubs out there, but finding the right one for you can be challenging.
Fortunately, language clubs can be online or in person.
In-person clubs are appealing since they allow for more interaction and more natural speaking practice. Language students in bigger cities are likely to find more in-person selections.
Online clubs are convenient in that you can interact with learners around the world from the comfort of your couch. Someone from a smaller community may have to use an online club and/or start their own club.
Of course, it’s always important to remember to play it safe when meeting strangers in person. Any club meeting you go to should be in a public place, and you should always let someone know where you’re going ahead of time. Better still, find a friend or fellow language lover to go along with you!
Search Facebook for Online or Local Clubs
There are many ways to learn a language on social media, so it should come as no surprise that you can connect with language clubs through Facebook groups.
Whether you’re looking for an in-person or virtual club, Facebook is a great jumping-off point. Many locally-based language clubs have private Facebook groups so you can connect online but then attend the in-person meetings. Similarly, there are some clubs that exclusively use Facebook to connect.
To find a club, simply search the name of your target language and “language club” on Facebook. The groups should be displayed immediately, but if not, click the “Groups” filter beneath the search bar. For local groups and more specific results, include your city or location in your search.
You’ll see all the options for your search terms as well as how many members belong to each group, which can help you identify the more active ones.
Some clubs are private or regionally based, so be sure to read the group’s description and community rules before joining.
Join Polyglot Club
Polyglot Club is a website that can help you connect with other language learners online or in person.
If you want to join an existing, in-person club, head to the Events page, which promotes local language club meetings. Each meeting’s location is noted in the upper right corner of its listing.
You can also search for your city or location in the upper right-hand corner of the page. Click on any listing to get the details on when, where and what’s happening, and then you can click “Join.”
If there aren’t any meetings in your area or that appeal to you, you can even post your own event to try to get a club up and running.
Polyglot Club is also a great place to connect with other learners virtually. Once you register, you can search for other language learners in your area or connect with learners around the world.
If you like, you can use these connections to start your own in-person or online club. Plus, Polyglot Club has a chat room and text and video chat options you could use for club meetings.
Search Meetup for Local Clubs
Meetup is a website used to connect like-minded people. You can use it to find people with similar hobbies, including learning a language.
To find language clubs near you, simply enter “language club” and your location. From there, find out all you need to know about the club (like their goals and requirements), browse pictures of previous events and sign up to attend an event.
There are dozens of language club meetings listed in major cities around the world. However, if there aren’t any clubs near you, you can also start one of your own.
Search Your Region’s Craigslist
Craigslist may be your go-to spot for selling your TV or buying some lightly used IKEA furniture, but it can also help you connect with other language learners!
It may not be quite as popular as other Craigslist features, but Craigslist does have a “community” section where users can post events and meetups where you might find some language clubs. Sub-sections like “activities,” “events” and “groups” may have some listings.
Simply browse posts or search your target language to try to find a club. You’re much more likely to find clubs in bigger cities, but this is Craigslist—you never know what you’ll find.
If you can’t find a club, you can also post your own club meeting!
Check with a University Language Department
Universities are a treasure trove of opportunities for language students, even if you’re not actually enrolled in language courses there.
If you happen to attend a college or university, all the better. There are often language clubs associated with universities, and if you’re a student, you’ll probably be able to join these clubs. All you have to do is find out when and where they meet, which your school’s language department will be able to help you with.
However, even if you don’t go to a college or university, an institution of higher education might be able to still help you.
While university clubs are often reserved for students, university language departments should be aware of other area language clubs you could join, or at least public activities or events hosted by the department where you can meet fellow language learners.
Check with Your Local Library
Your local library wants to help you learn. Why not let it?
Libraries can be an inside source to help you find local language clubs. After all, many libraries host clubs like this, so they can provide you with the information you need on whom to contact, when the meetings occur, etc.
Even if your library isn’t the home base of a language club, it could provide you with the information you need to find a club elsewhere.
Libraries often have bulletin boards for local organizations like language clubs to share information, announce meetings and more, so you might want to look over this material carefully!
Plus, librarians seem to know everything, so even if the library doesn’t host a club or have a bulletin board, your favorite librarian might be able to direct you to other organizations or resources that might have more information.
How to Start Your Own Language Club
If you’ve decided to start your own language learning club after all based on your location, needs or other factors, here are some tips for you.
Message boards are often used to share successes, lament setbacks and chat. But if you’re looking to start a language club, you might also use message boards to recruit members.
Don’t forget to also check with friends, family and coworkers to see if any of them are studying a language or know someone who is. A lot of people are actively learning a language and even more people are thinking about learning a language.
If you reach out to your friends, family and coworkers and they reach out to people they know, you’re bound to find similarly-minded language learners that can build the foundation for your language club.
Plus, did you know there’s such a thing as a language-learning social network? Websites like Speaky, HiNative and UniLang help users connect with other language learners and speakers of their target languages.
These websites are designed specifically for language learners but don’t offer specific clubs. However, since they help you connect with other language aficionados, you might be able to cultivate enough of a friend group to start your own language club.
If you need more tips on finding members, try online message boards like Reddit’s language learning subreddit.
Establish Your Club
First things first: discuss club goals with one another. What does everyone hope to get out of the language club? To ensure your club is functional and thrives, it’s important to ensure everyone is on the same page.
After all, if some language learners want the club to push everyone forward rapidly and others just hope for some casual language practice, tension may arise. Addressing these issues early will provide focus for your club.
Set an agenda
Next, set an agenda. What will club members do and when? Whenever you have a meeting, there should be an agenda for that meeting.
Without an agenda, meetings can be directionless, and no one likes a directionless meeting, so you could lose members quickly.
Plus, developing an agenda for a meeting ahead of time will ensure everyone is prepared with whatever information or ideas they need to get the most out of the meeting.
Set a meeting place
Once you have your club formed, you’ll need to find a place to meet.
For in-person meetings, find a space to meet up. If your group is small and composed of friends and/or family, you might rotate whose house you go to.
If your group includes strangers, a public place like a library is best. Plus, if you’re looking to grow as a club, new members will be less intimidated by meeting in a public place.
For online meetings, you’ll still need a place to meet. Some options include starting a message board or a Facebook group or connecting via Zoom or Skype.
You might even try a combination of these things in order to find a better balance between written and spoken practice.
What Can Your Language Club Do to Aid Learning?
Whether you join an existing club or create your own you’ll get the most out of it by participating actively and driving success for yourself and your club-mates. Here’s how.
Competition can drive learning, so having challenges that pit you against club-mates can help push everyone towards fluency.
Challenges might include learning the most vocabulary words in a set timeframe or getting the farthest ahead in an online/app language program.
Whether you’re playing for a small prize or even just bragging rights, the desire to win will help each club member excel.
Start a book club
Book club-style meetings provide helpful, well-rounded language practice.
The club can select a book in the target language. Then, all club members read the book. Finally, you host a meeting where you discuss the book while using your target language.
This way, you get reading, speaking and listening practice.
Host a viewing party
Let’s face facts: watching TV and movies is fun. And if your language club has a viewing party, you can get so much more out of your favorite entertainment. Simply select a movie or TV show in your target language and get ready to learn!
Viewing parties can work online or in person. For online clubs, you can all watch the same movie and then discuss it via Zoom or Skype or in writing.
For in-person clubs, the group can get together and watch the movie together. This provides the opportunity to rewatch key scenes and/or take breaks to discuss the movie or TV show, which can provide valuable listening and speaking practice.
For more targeted learning, you can focus on short scenes and clips and then discuss them afterwards.
A good place to find clips is YouTube or FluentU—a language learning program that uses authentic content such as movie scenes, music videos and other bite-sized videos, all of which have interactive subtitles and active learning features like quizzes and flashcards.
Host cultural nights
Cultural knowledge is important for language learners. Hosting cultural nights is a valuable way to get your cultural education while using your target language.
In-person groups can share food, listen to music or even do craft projects. For online groups, cultural nights are a little more difficult, but group members can still listen to music, do craft projects or even eat thematic food while interacting with one another via Zoom or instant message.
Why Join or Start a Language Learning Club?
One of the best things about language learning clubs is that they make you accountable to someone. Whenever you engage in a big challenge like learning a language, it can be easy to lose focus and give up.
However, when someone’s paying attention to your language progress, you’re much more likely to keep studying if for no other reason than to avoid embarrassment.
Language learning clubs also give you someone to commiserate with. When you face setbacks, they can be demoralizing.
If you can talk to someone else who’s struggling with the same issues, the language-learning process becomes a lot less lonely and intimidating.
Finally, language learning clubs provide answers to your questions. Struggling with a conjugation? Ask the club. Don’t understand a grammar rule? Your club has your back.
So there you have it! You have all you need to either join a language club or start your own. Good luck!
And One More Thing...
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