There’s no denying it: learning a second language can bring numerous benefits. First of all, it opens a new world of possibilities. You can immerse in the culture of the countries you’re visiting and connect with the local at a deeper and more meaningful level. You can also find exciting job opportunities that pay better and are more rewarding than if you were to speak only one language. And, not to forget, learning a second language can improve your cognitive skills.
But, with our busy schedules and hectic lives, it can seem downright impossible to find the time to learn a new language.
Here are a few strategies to overcome this obstacle.
Look for Online Courses and Tutors
Learning a language doesn’t necessarily require you to be in a classroom in front of a teacher. In fact, you could do it from home, on Sunday mornings while in your pajamas. There are numerous platforms, such as Preply.com where you can find private tutors that will help you master a language for a small hourly fee. For example, if you search for an online Italian teacher, on Preply you can find numerous tutors that meet your requirements both time and money wise.
One of the best parts about this option is that in addition to practicing your skills with a native, you also get a chance to learn more about their country and culture.
Watch movies, Read Books, and Listen to Music
The beauty of learning a second language is to you also get to understand more about their history, culture, and traditions and expand your education. Thankfully, with information at your fingertips, nothing is stopping you from watching foreign movies, reading books written by native authors or listening to music on national radio stations.
Find movies, shows and music in the language you want to learn and enjoy the free lesson. Of course, you will want to have subtitles at first, but you will notice how quickly you’ll begin to grasp common words and how you will learn when and how to use them in a conversation.
One of the reasons TV shows work so well is that you get to see familiar characters many times in a row and it’s easier to make language connections. But if you are a music freak or an avid reader, then that might work best for you. Experiment with different options to see what fits you.
Use Dictionaries and Vocabulary Cards
You can find already made vocabulary cards and learning tools online, but it works even better if you make them yourself. This way, you make the information stick better because you deal with it at a deeper level instead of just mindlessly reading a word in an app.
Use a notebook or notepad to write down interesting words, common expressions and other things. Embellish them with colors, drawings or other personalized design elements, and they will be easier to remember.
Look for Opportunities to Practice Your Skills
Once you have learned the basic words and gained a little confidence, you can change the default language of your browser’s menu or your phone to the second language. You will be surprised at how quickly you will learn new words by simply using your devices. Don’t worry about getting lost since you surely know the buttons by heart. And, if you do get stuck somewhere, you can always switch back to English or a language you are familiar with.
With all these resources, you can start practicing right away. Just half of hour of learning each day will make a difference and the rewards of speaking and understanding a second language will arrive shortly.