Do you wish you paid more attention in GCSE French? Are you jealous of your friend who can woo dates in Italian? Brits are often accused of being lazy with languages, but it’s not too late to learn a new skill.
In fact, it’s never been easier to get to grips with language learning and in today’s global world, never been more valuable.
Learning a new language to a fluent level does take commitment but is incredibly satisfying. Even brushing up your existing skills is simple enough with a range of classes available and online tools to help you study independently. If you need inspiration check out these old-timers who started learning a new language after they had retired, and read on to find out why it’s never too late to learn!
Your employer might support you
Language skills are valuable to many employers. If your company is focused on international expansion or is already working abroad, it may be that they could do with more language skills on the team. Some organisations give employees a training budget, but even if that isn’t automatically available to you it’s worth building a case for language learning support. You must be able to tell your employer exactly what they could gain if you learned a new language and outline how they could help (with course fees or flexible working arrangements for example).
Your personal tutor is probably your friend
Someone in your social circle is bound to know the language you’re keen to learn. It might be their mother tongue or that they spent a year abroad there during university, either way, don’t be shy at initiating a conversation with them. You never know, they might invite you home to practice in native surroundings.
You can attend classes on evenings/weekends
There are tons of language classes and sociable meet ups for language exchange in every city. By dong a simple search online you will easily find your local adult education center. London is one of the world’s largest cultural melting pots and offers Londoners a great range of language opportunities. City Lit London teaches over 19 different languages with classes held during the day, on evenings and at the weekend at all levels from beginners to advance.
You can learn on your phone
Whilst classes are the best way to learn if you’re serious about taking on another language, there are a wide range of apps downloadable on your phone or tablet to support your learning in-between. Duolingo and Living Language are very popular amongst causal learners and is certainly a productive way to spend your time at the bus stop, although you might want to save the dictation for home.
Work and learn abroad
If you have some skills in a particular language, without doubt the fastest way to become fluent is to immerse yourself in that country. Brits can work in any country in the EU so you might consider a year in France or summer season in Spain. You’ll still have to make an effort to speak your new language though; hanging out with fellow expats 24/7 won’t help.
In general you are more likely to succeed if you tell your friends, family or colleagues about your new goal. It also helps if you enjoy yourself whilst learning. Finding a buddy interested in learning a language with you is a great way to stay motivated.