Learning a new language has many benefits, especially today when we live in such a hyper-connected and fast-paced world. I recently started learning German again and it has been quite challenging for me because it’s so different from English, however, I know that I will be able to adapt to a new environment way easier once I’m fluent. If you’re planning on moving to another country where a lot of people don’t speak English, I would recommend you to start learning a new language as soon as possible. It is one of the best ways you can emerge yourself into the culture and connect with new people. According to Eton Institute, learning a foreign language will improve your memory, sharpen your mind, increase networking skills and provide you with a better career choice. I know it can be a little bit overwhelming when you start learning a new language and that’s why I prepared 5 tips that will make this whole process easier for you. They are all based on my experience and helped me a lot during the past 6 months. Here are the 5 ways you can learn a new language by yourself:
Watching movies, TV-series and YouTube videos in your target language
Talk to yourself and talk to others
Read the news
1. Babbel App
I discovered the Babbel App when I moved to Germany and since then I’ve been using it every day. I think it’s one of the best apps for learning a new language. You can choose between 14 different languages and also different levels of language proficiency. What I love the most about it is that it is completely tailored to your needs. You can learn by reading, writing, speaking, or listening. Their audio examples and dialogues are recorded with real native speakers which means they will motivate you to speak correctly and with a lot of confidence. One of the best features is definitely a speech recognition tool that will test your pronunciation and make sure you will sound just like the native speakers. Learning with Babbel is so much fun and it really trains your brain to learn constantly and with a high level of efficiency. Babbel app is a subscription-based program. You can buy a monthly plan for €12.99 and they always have promotions where you can buy a 3 months plan for €25. It is totally worth it as you can learn a new language really fast and from anywhere.
Lingoda is an online language school where you will learn in small, private classes with native teachers. You can choose between English, Business English, German, French and Spanish. They offer group lessons (you will learn with 3-5 other students) and private lessons. Their lessons are carefully organized to make sure that every student gets a really good experience. What I love the most about Lingoda is that you can really improve the speaking part and do it while sitting at home on your couch. You can choose between different topics and teachers. Their classes are available 24/7 which is awesome because you can book a class to fit your schedule. After every class, you can download the PDF files of materials so you can review the vocabulary and grammar any time you want. Lingoda is also a subscription-based platform. If you want to take 1 group class every week, you can sign up for €59/ month. Their most popular plan costs around €142 a month which gets you 2-3 lessons per week. Learning through Lingoda is definitely cheaper than taking lessons within the physical classroom and the biggest advantage for me is that you can do the class anytime you want and from the comfort of your own home.
3. Watching movies, TV-series and YouTube videos in your target language
One of the best ways you can learn a new language is by watching movies, TV-series and YouTube videos. This really helped me whenever I wanted to learn a foreign language. Over the past few months, I watched many German comedies and romantic movies on Netflix and picked up a lot of vocabulary. Watching videos in your target language will familiarize you with the native speach and put vocabulary in context. A lot of the time you won’t understand a word however you can often guess what’s happening based on visual cues and facial expressions. Another benefit of watching movies is that you can see how vocabulary is used in different situations. That will help you understand when different words are appropriate to use. If you feel like watching a whole movie in a foreign language is too much for the beginning, you can always start with short YouTube videos. In addition, I would recommend you to take a notebook and write down the words you don’t know and review them later.
4. Talk to yourself and talk to others
Talking to locals can really improve your speaking skills. You will get the opportunity to really theory into practice. However, it is not always easy to find a native speaker and luckily there is another way you can improve your speaking skills. When I first read about this I thought it was kind of a silly thing to do, but it actually isn’t! Talking to yourself. It’s easy, convenient and one of the most beneficial ways to learn a new language. It seems a bit crazy at first, but you will quickly get used to it. You probably already learned a lot of new words and you need to put them into practice. You can start talking about random subjects and then try to pick a different topic every time. You can also record yourself and see how well you actually did. Recording yourself will also give you the opportunity to see the progress and be proud of yourself.
5. Read the news
One of the ways I’m learning a new language is also by reading the news. Reading the news will teach you new words and phrases. Moreover, journalists are required to write in a standardized way which means they don’t use any slang or colloquialisms and you will understand the language easily. It will increase your vocabulary and improve your grammar. Another really good reason why you should read the news in the language you want to learn is that once you start talking with the locals you will have a lot of common topics of conversation (current events, sports, business, politics..). You will be learning a foreign language on one side and on the other, you will get to know all the important details about the country.
It’s important that you find a news source that matches your current language proficiency and then slowly progress. Write down words and phrases that you don’t understand. Take a deeper look after you finish reading the news.
You can do it!
Learning a new language is definitely one of the best ways to connect with people from all around the world and also adapt to a new environment when moving abroad. It has many benefits from improving your communication, staying more focused on getting better career opportunities, and also increasing your creativity. You can learn a new language in 5 different ways by yourself. Start by watching movies and tv-series in a language that you want to learn. Join an online class or learn new vocabulary with an app like Babbel. Don’t forget to speak with the locals or to yourself. Make it fun and be creative.
Till next time,