Learning a language is great for all kinds of reasons, from getting yourself a new job to the possibility of making new friends. You might have new films to watch, new books to read, and also gain an appreciation of other cultures and cuisines that you haven't experienced before.
The opportunities once you've learned a new language are endless, but then so is the study experience! Gone are the days when it is you and your trusty textbook against the world, reciting how to order a sandwich or get directions to the station. The entire world is there online waiting to teach you your new language. Here are some tips on how you can start.
Do what you're already doing
Are you an Instragrammer? Do you live on Twitter? Have you liked everything in your Facebook feed and refresh isn't giving you anything new to look at? Then why not incorporate a little language learning into your social media and give yourself a challenge? It doesn't have to be anything big. If you have a basic understanding of your target language, why not change your Twitter, Instagram, and so on to use in that language? All popular social media offers a wide range of languages for their user base. Even if you start out with learning French for Retweet and the German for Instagram Story, it is a small stepping stone to learning bigger things.
Love what you love
Are you an avid photographer? Artist? Like looking at the latest cars, technology, or fashion? You can keep doing all of that as you learn a language. How? A quick Google search for, let's say, Spanish photographers or Italian chefs will give you new people to follow who speak the language you are trying to learn. Reading the Tweets of your new favourite baker might give you a new recipe idea. Watching the Instagram story of a new designer you like might inspire a whole new wardrobe change. Beneath all of that discovery, you are putting your language skills to use, and learning that language in its native form. What better way to learn is there than that?
Keep up to date
We have a lot going on in our world today. Whether we're doom-surfing or just looking for a little light reprieve, it's important to know what is happening around us. Our news, then, is more vital than ever. Though how can you truly get the bigger picture if you only read from one source? By reading news on the same situation from other perspectives around the world, we can build a better understanding. Language skills can help us with that, and language practice can help us become better informed.
There are thousands of online international newspapers available both through subscription and for free. You could start small, by translating the headlines you read or watching short videos of the latest news. You can even head to your favourite newspaper sections that aren't anything to do with the doom and gloom we are facing if you want. Like travel, cuisine, or fashion? You can read those in online newspapers in all the languages you can imagine!
Make your language learning about you
Nothing can slam the brakes on studying harder than being told you can only do it in a certain way. This is your learning experience, and it is important that you learn in the ways you want to. Love Spotify? Look up the top twenty in a country that speaks your target language. Run out of things to watch on Netflix? Try searching for films and series in other languages that you can watch with subtitles. Like learning new skills through Youtube? Find Youtubers speaking the language you are trying to learn so you can practice language at the same time. Learning a language should be enjoyable, and who knows best about what is enjoyable to you than, well, you?
Not all of us are lucky enough to be able to immerse ourselves in a whole new country. Learning languages online provides the next best thing. From taking virtual walking tours of museums in far off places to speaking with fans who love the same books, series, and celebrities as you, language learning can be a simple, enjoyable part of your day. You'll learn slang, colloquialisms, the perfect pronunciation, and how that language is used by people speaking it natively. And you'll pick it up just by doing the things you already love. Is there any better way of learning than that?