Learning a second language can open doors to exciting travel adventures, new jobs and lasting relationships. Typically, language students acquire their skills in a classroom setting or through an immersion experience abroad. But if you can’t afford to travel or pay tuition, learning a foreign language online is simpler than you might think. The internet is a great resource for finding both online and face-to-face language classes and tutors. And for aspiring language learners on a tight budget, there are plenty of affordable resources as well.
Free Language Sites
Sites like learnalanguage.com help beginners get the basics of Spanish, French, Italian, Japanese, German or Chinese through simple lessons, games and activities. Popular language learning communities offer free basic courses, chat, messaging and flashcards, as well as premium paid content. Many travel sites also feature basic glossaries and pronunciation guides for common phrases.
Electronic Pen Pals
In the heyday of snail mail, language students often practised their writing skills by sending letters to a pen pal on the other side of the globe. Today’s correspondence usually takes the form of emails, instant messages, Skype video chats and Facebook posts. Sites like interpals.net and epals.com are great places to find an online pen pal for language exchange.
Online Videos and Radio
Streaming videos and audio from international news channels can be an entertaining and effective way to train your ears to listen to a foreign language. Popular TV and movie site, Hulu.com has a huge selection of Spanish and Korean TV shows. For those interested in learning Hindi, a number of entertaining Bollywood films can be found on Hulu as well.
Local Library Catalogs
Many public libraries have searchable catalogues on their websites. Look for audiobooks and other language learning tools, such as foreign films with subtitles. And while you’ll probably need to show up in person to check out these materials, some larger libraries even give cardholders access to online language learning resources in their collection. Libraries are awesome sources of top-notch language materials.
Launching your language study has never been simpler, plus, it will look great on your CV. If you’ve got access to a computer with an internet connection, you’re moments away from starting one of the most valuable educational journeys available to you.