Learning a new language is on everyone’s new years list. Seriously, it’s been on mine for the last decade. Having had a few free hours the last couple days gave me time to look through my lists. There is one thing that reminds me of my secret ambitions more than anything else: House Hunters. Yes, I know it’s staged, but seeing people travel to different countries, settle in and absorb the country is inspiring.
Packing up everything and moving to a different country is one way to immerse yourself in a culture and learn a new language. In fact, it’s something I wanted to do last year when I started to plan for a six-month move to Argentina, but life (and clients) kept me here. Moving away, however, is not always an option for everyone. My travel motto has always been, “Be a foreigner in a new land, not a tourist.” That’s certainly important to me when I’m looking for cheap holiday deals.
I mean, the reason why we learn another language is to be able to go to a different place and blend in seamlessly on holiday. Regardless, if travelling isn’t in the cards for you right now, perhaps the following options might help you get your fix:
One of the best language software systems out there, Rosetta Stone, along with the Complete Series are a great way to get started from the comfort of your own home. Rosetta has tons of different options and is one of the easiest ways to learn a new language. I have also tried Complete Spanish All In One and Get Started in Italian and really liked those. They were very easy to use and you can go at your own pace.
Taking a class:
I’m not a really a class person when it comes to languages because I find that you learn too many formal things and not enough conversational skills. However, it is a great way to get started. Classes are ideal if you’re planning to be in a formal setting.
Yep, you read that right. Watching TV shows and movies in different languages without subtitles can be frustrated at times, but as one of the top three ways to learn a new language- it does wonders. My sister is taking a few Italian classes in university but swears that she learned more watching Italian soap-operas in the summer.
Talking to people:
Seems like common sense, right? Somehow we forget it. Taking the time to actually talk to someone is the best practice you can give yourself. I used to work in a retirement home and used to spend my breaks talking to the loveliest German couple in VERY broken German. Did I become fluent? No, but I did pick up a few words and learned the dialect!