All right, so maybe you won't be practicing French while tasting your way through the vineyards of Normandy or learning Portuguese while dancing til dawn in the streets of Rio.
So what? Fluency in a foreign language is proven to contribute to a better ability to focus, improved attention span, and can even deter atrophy of the mind in old age.* Plus, it's a great way to make interesting, new friends, no matter where you are in the world.
In college, I went to Serata Italiana - Italian Speakers Club every Wednesday. The only rule at Serata Italiana was that you had to speak Italian the entire time. I'm not going to lie, it's harder than it sounds. Okay, so lots of pizza and wine were also involved, but it worked. I learned that even after two years of studying Italian, if I wanted to achieve a higher level of fluency then I had to get out of the classroom and start speaking conversationally. Those weekly get-togethers prepared me better than anything for studying abroad in Italy. These days I'm a bit rusty as Italian isn't something that I hear on a regular basis in Portland, Oregon. But no excuses.
There are plenty of ways that you can immerse yourself in a foreign language without spending a small fortune on classes. Although nothing will teach you grammar and the written language quite like a formal class, thinking outside the box can truly pay off when it comes to learning (or brushing up on) your language of choice. Not only will you be developing a skill that will only benefit you mentally, socially, and professionally, you'll be learning the cultural nuances that will make you a better global citizen overall. And the more you listen to the everyday use of the language, the more it will sink in. Read on for a few free to low cost ways to immerse yourself in a foreign language no matter where you are. Let's get started.
6 WAYS TO IMMERSE YOURSELF IN A FOREIGN LANGUAGE
NO MATTER WHERE YOU ARE IN THE WORLD
FREE SPOTIFY LANGUAGE LEARNING PLAYLISTS
- Search ex: "french for beginner's" and voilà!
LISTEN TO TALK RADIO
- TIP: KEEP IT ON IN THE BACKGROUND WHILE YOU COOK OR clean AROUND THE HOUSE.
EXPLORE FREE APPs
- PLAY DUOLINGO! iT'S FUN + EASY TO USE.
LISTEN TO FOREIGN MUSIC
- free on Spotify.
WATCH FOREIGN FILMS ON NETFLIX
- sPANISH? TRY FILMS BY DIRECTOR GUILLERMO DEL TORO. ITALIAN? TRY FILMS BY DIRECTOR FEDERICO FELLINI OR WITH ACTOR Roberto bENIgNI. FRENCH? tRY FILMS BY director JEAN-LUC Godard.
talk to somebody
- check out meetup.COM for COFFEESHOP foreign language nights. FIND A FRIEND TO PRACTICE WITH (AND KEEP YOU ACCOUNTABLE.) volunteer at a local language-immersion grade school, conference, or cultural festival.
Do you have any fun ways to learn a new language? What language are you learning or are hoping to brush up on? Let me know in the comments! In the meantime, here's a fun playlist from Spotify Italia.
*For further reading, check out these articles on Google Scholar.