Learning a foreign language is never easy. It takes commitment, perseverance, focus, an open-mind, you get my point right? You may asking yourself, “Why should I even learn a foreign language? All I need to know is (insert your native language here).”
There are numerous reasons (and perks) why you should learn a foreign language. For one, you become more marketable in the business world. An employer (especially one from an international company) is more likely to hire someone who is fluent in another language than someone who is not. For everyone who is fluent in English, English is NOT the most spoken language in the world (Mandarin Chinese and Spanish are the most spoken languages of the world). *Plus, most of the products of the United States are made internationally. Another reason is that you’ll be more sensitive to cultural differences and respect other cultures. You’ll also get a new perspective on the political world and understand what’s going on in foreign countries. If you get to travel abroad (and learn the language(s) of that country), you’ll be able to truly connect with the natives, partake in their customs, and assimilate into the culture. There are many (and I mean many) more reasons why you should learn at least another language, but to make a long story short-it is a stepping-stone to your future and it can only help you.
Anyways…We all have been learning at least one language since we were been born. You learned by listening to your parents, mimicking them, being corrected by your parents, reading books, listening/watching television, talking to others, etc. Learning a foreign language is the exact same thing same thing.
However, it is a lot easier if you have the right resources to help you. As a linguaphile, I found numerous (effective) resources/ways that helped me learn the foreign languages I’m studying. If you’re really serious about learning a foreign language-read, write down, and use this list:
- Watch foreign movies and television (It is fairly simple to go on the web and search foreign movies/television shows-I personally use Hulu and Viki)
- Listen to foreign music (Download songs, buy/find some international CDs, YouTube, go to an international music festival)
- Books, magazines, newspapers, menus (Anything you can find that is written in a foreign language-buy, take (if it’s free), at least try to read it. My mother’s friend has a good few stacks of Korean children’s books, and she lent my my mother those books for me to read, speak, learn, and write better Korean).
- Phrasebooks and dictionaries (These are great if you’re in a foreign country and just starting out with the language. If you really want to challenge yourself, buy one that is in the other language to English or even another foreign language.)
- Language courses (Utilize those foreign language classes in high school, find a local course in your community, take a class at a local college, take a night class, etc.)
- Friend a foreigner (You can help each other learn each other’s native language and also learn about the other person’s cultures, customs, and food (and maybe taste them too)
- Learn from your family and/or relatives (If your grandparents were from Russia or your dad was from Spain (or any relative that was born in a foreign country and/or is fluent in another foreign language-take advantage of the opportunity to learn the language, learn about your heritage, learn the customs, try the different ethnic foods, and talk to them about their experiences, stories, and thoughts from their homeland)
- Attend local international events (Use this opportunity to practice with others, learn more of the language, etc.)
- Go to a local Chinatown, Koreatown, etc. (Try the local food, read the menus, experience what it would be like if you were in a foreign country)
- Online websites, Computer Programs, and YouTube (Using online websites, computer programs, and Youtube is actually effective while learning a foreign language-if you find the right ones. Search around and use multiple sites (make sure you contrast to see which sites/programs are effective and which are not.
Basically, take advantage of any opportunity you can. Once you start learning and having fun, you won’t be able to stop.
Here’s a list of language learning websites, computer programs, and YouTube links that I’ve found and used (most of them):
http://www.verbix.com/languages/korean.php (verb conjugations)
Spanish, German, French, Portuguese, Italian:
Korean, Chinese, Russian:
Rosetta Stone, Pimsleur
Now that you finished reading, get out your notebook and pen…and start learning! 화이팅!