Learning a new language offers you a number of benefits. One, it exposes you to different cultures. In this age of vast technological advancements, there are increased chances of interacting with cross-cultural people. Social media has largely opened up the world, making it possible to make friends from anywhere around the globe. On the other hand, the world has become one huge talent pool for employers. You can now easily land an employer from across the globe if you are looking for a telecommuting opportunity. The only way you can be able to build meaningful connections with these people is if you understand their culture.
Away from that, having one more language in your resume makes you attractive to employers across different fields. Companies serving multinational consumers or multilingual call center services providers are a few examples of organizations that look for multilingual individuals.
In addition, the quarantine period is slowly coming to an end. Soon the world will be fully open again for traveling. Knowing different languages allows you to have better experiences in your travels.
Lastly, in this list, knowing a new language enlarges your entertainment portfolio as you can consume content from different languages.
Moreover, we are being advised to stay productive during quarantine to avoid falling into mental illnesses such as stress and depression. Learning a new language presents a perfect way to do this.
If you have been putting off learning a new language due to lack of time, you now have ample time to do this. Here is how to do it while confined at home.
1. Online tutor
The best way to learn a new language is to have an in-person session with a tutor or a native speaker. This is because you get to observe some little things such as tongue placement when pronouncing words. Unfortunately, quarantine has forced the closure of foreign language learning centers. Some organizations such as the International Center for Language Studies have taken their classes online. You can subscribe to their virtual classes and connect with them via video conferencing tools such as Zoom or Skype. Alternatively, find an online tutor or native speaker and get practicing with them.
2. Foreign language learning apps
Apps present a cheaper way to learn a new language. Most of them are free, but you can upgrade for a small fee. Apps teach you the basics, that is basic grammar and vocabulary, which makes them perfect for beginners. Some apps such as Duolingo combine learning with gamification, making it fun to learn new languages. You get to take up tests and can practice word pronunciations by speaking through your phone’s microphone. Other apps such as LingualLift have tutors who offer guidelines.
The only downside of learning through apps is that you are interacting with a static system. You can get the illusion that you have learned a lot, only to be disappointed when you try to apply what you have learned. It is important that you approach the apps with a realistic mind.
3. Consume foreign content
During this prolonged period at home, entertainment is one of the things that are keeping most of us sane. Why not use this opportunity to kill two birds with one stone- get entertained and learn a new language while at it.
Foreign music, films, and TV series among other entertainment content provide a good way to listen and/or observe a native speak the language. Thankfully, technology has made it easier to access foreign content through live streaming and other avenues.
4. Read foreign publications
Besides listening and pronouncing words, it is also important to practice your reading skills. A good way to do this is by reading foreign publications online. La Repubblica from Italy and Le Monde from France are a few good suggestions. You can start from simple subjects such as coronavirus breaking news and continue advancing gradually.
5. Change your phone’s language setting
With so much time in our hands, quarantine has more than doubled the time most of us spend on our phones. Why not use this to your advantage to practice a few words in a new language. Change the language on your phone to the one that you are learning. The words tend to stick to the brain more if you frequently see and read them.
Learning a new language can be overwhelming and challenging, but that is not to say that it can’t be done. All it needs is a resolution to want to learn a new language. Commit to make a little progress each day and be consistent.
However, it is important to understand why you want to learn a new language. That is where the motivation to keep at it will come from.