Travel Tips Books

Published on April 14th, 2013 | by Daniel

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How to Learn a Foreign Language Quickly

Knowing one or more foreign languages is one of the most valuable skills you can have as a person and as a location independent professional. It is useful is so many ways, as for interacting with the locals on a social level, or using in your online business, therefore expanding your market opportunities big time.

That said, learning a new language can be easy or difficult depending how you approach it. You have people who learn it from books only and others who learn from immersing themselves with the locals, without having seen any study book. Both methods can work very well and there is no golden standard.

However, practice is key!

By practicing your language with native speakers constantly you will start to memorize words and words patterns in a fun way. Getting the base with a grammar book seals the deal.

Before visiting Latin America I decided to study Spanish. Back in my younger days I studied English, German and French (besides my native Dutch) so I had no experience with Spanish. First I took a local Spanish course back home. Although it was very helpful for laying the basics of the language, I found my real practical progress was slow.

Then I looked online, and I found LiveMocha. It is great website where you can do courses in any language imaginable, while you can also practice it with native speakers (who are also learning a language there). So I taught others English, while they taught me Spanish. It is a great experience and a lot of fun.

After I arrived in Latin America I used my Spanish skills that I have developed so far and took it from there. The fact that I basically could converse with locals was a lot of fun, and this fact and confidence increased my Spanish skills even further in a massive rate, as I conversed in Spanish constantly.

So my advice is:

> Read a book for the basics

> Use LiveMocha, go through the course and talk with locals online

> Go to the country and try to speak the language constantly (no English!)

> If needed take an additional language course in the country where it is spoken – this will increase your learning rate while giving you some theoretical knowledge to fine-tune your language.

And voila!

You speak a new language which you can apply in so many ways. That is a skill never lost on anybody.

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  • Mandy L

    I think your idea about taking a local course is good, too. I used to work with someone who traveled to Mexico regularly to help build houses, and she learned and then kept up her Spanish by participating in continuing education classes at a local college. The classes were inexpensive, too, as a lot of continuing ed classes are.

    I’ve also heard good things about LiveMocha!

    Another free way to improve with a language is to see what resources are available at your local library. Usually you can get audio and video materials, in addition to books. Watching films in foreign languages can be useful, too, and many libraries have a good collection. :)

    • Daniel

      Great remarks, the watching foreign movies with subtitles helped me big time as well ;)

  • Roger M

    I am interested to note that you brought here really great ideas that can really help anyone!
    I debated it for a while what language to learn .. I did not know how to and did not know how long it might take.
    I’m definitely going to implement your ideas you wrote this article.
    Really thank you very much.

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