Learning a new language has many proven benefits that make putting the time and effort into learning a second language worth it.
A second language can open you up to a world of possibilities, as more and more jobs are looking for someone who is bilingual.
Although learning a new language as a child is the easiest time to learn (the child I was an au pair for knew 5 languages by the time he was 5 years old), it doesn't mean you should throw the towel in and give up.
When you learn a second language, you're experiencing an entirely different world.
You're opening yourself up to new experiences that you wouldn't have otherwise had if you didn't speak that second language.
If you travel abroad often, you'll be able to make new friends that don't speak your native language but instead speak your second language. You'll even get to listen to music and understand it in another language, which I think is so beautiful!
Benefits of knowing a second language:
- Improved memory
- Boost brain power
- Delayed onset of dementia
- Stronger resume vs. someone who does not know a second language
- Essential for today's growing economy
- Builds self-confidence and creativity
Top languages to learn for business-related purposes:
“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” – Saint Augustine
Below are 10 ways you can learn a new language on a tight budget. Enjoy!
You'll learn words from real-world context with Fluentu. You learn a language through watching a movie, TV show, or listening to music. The program turns learning a language into a personalized learning game. It'll track your progress and send you movies and clips that are perfect for you.
There are new videos added weekly and include several languages such as Spanish, Japanese, Italian, Korean, and more!
Cost: 15-day free trial, starts at $15 month after
Duolingo is one of the top apps for language learning due to how fun and interactive the learning style is.
You'll read, listen, and speak your target language and get instant feedback and corrections on what you got wrong. Duolingo is also used in many schools now, which is amazing!
italki is a service that gives 1-1 sessions with a native speaker. You can browse through many teachers and even take a discounted initial course to see if the teacher fits your learning style. All of the teachers are rated, too, so you can see if they're worth your time or not.
You can connect with people from all around the world, which is another added benefit to italki.
Cost: Varies between $5+ per session.
Memrise offers programs for over 200+ languages. Language learning has to be fun in order for me to retain the information, and Memrise does this perfectly. Memrise claims to use science to adapt to your personal learning style and performance, which means you'll actually retain the information quickly.
This program ties with Duolingo for me as far as favorite language learning programs go.
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- Immersing you in a new language through real-life dialogues that will get you speaking right away
- Employing proven cognitive techniques that move new vocab to your long-term memory
- Using human voices and speech recognition to get you speaking confidently
- Building each course based on your native language and personal interests
Babbel has also received numerous awards for their language learning service.
You can try it out for free to see if it fits your learning style, and then you have to pay to continue using the program.
Cost: 1 month/$12.95, but cheaper with longer packages
Busuu includes flash cards, corrections from native speakers, quizzes, travel courses, grammar exercises, and tons more which makes this program stand out among others.
There are several languages to choose from, ranging from Spanish, Italian, French, Arabic, Polish, and more.
Cost: Flashcards free, but premium has the best features starting at $9.99 a month, with options getting cheaper with the longer packages
7. Google Translate
Google Translate isn't always 100% reliable, but I find it necessary for when you're traveling abroad.
It allows you to quickly translate something written down, or in a book. There's a feature on Google Translate that allows you to put your phone up to a book in German, and it'll completely translate it to German. It's absolutely amazing!
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Meetup.com has groups for various languages where people are looking to do a language exchange.
For example, you'll find someone whose target language is English who also speaks German (your target language). You can do a simple search on Meetup with keywords such as, “language exchange”. You'll also make great friends and learn about another country, which is one of the best parts of learning a language this way.
9. Teach English Abroad
Teaching English in another country has a long list of benefits, especially if you also have a bachelor's degree. You are not required to know the language spoken in the country as most schools only want you to speak English, but during your free time, you'll be fully immersed in a country where your target language is spoken.
A few benefits of being an English teacher is paid accommodation, flights (if a program is completed), basic bills paid, and more.
10. Become an Au Pair
Becoming an au pair was one of the best experiences I've ever had. I was fully immersed in the Italian culture and made friends from all over the world. Learning a second language is a whole lot easier when you're living in the country where the language is constantly spoken.
Not only do you get to immerse yourself in the culture, you get to travel all around the country when you're off on weekends. Though I loved my experience, there were also plenty of struggles living as an au pair, You can learn how to become an au pair here.
Learning a new language has become one of my favorite hobbies the past few years. I'm constantly surprised at how much Spanish I can read and understand. Italian and German are languages that I'm learning in my free time, although I think I need to stick with one to retain the information and not get confused.
We'll see! If you know a second language, please comment below what language it is and how you learned that language.
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What are some other ways we can learn a new language on a budget? Share below in the comments!