Learning a new language can be difficult at first. Getting the hang of something new often requires some growing pains. Fortunately, in today’s digital age, there are more resources available at our fingertips. There’s a wealth of material online that can easily link you up with credible teaching sites and native language speakers. These can give you access to learning without having to shell out too much cash.
One of the greatest challenges to learning a language is speaking it. We can easily learn grammar through reading, and even listening to songs and reading light materials written in the language we are trying to learn.
However, speaking the language can be difficult because it needs constant practice. And if you’re not in a classroom setting everyday, this proves to be a challenge. Here’s a roundup of the best online tools to count on for practicing the language with other people.
Italki functions like a social media site, but for language learners. Like most language exchange sites, italki will connect willing students to native language teachers. The best part about this is that the services are one-on-one. Your teacher will really be able to give you their full attention and focus on your special needs because of this.
With over a thousand teachers available for any language all over the world, italki is an ideal platform for students who want comprehensive lessons.
One of the perks of language learning is that it lets you connect with more people from a diverse range of cultures. Aside from the language itself, you learn about culture and gain new friends along the way. Interestingly, it’s been proven that learning with friends can make the process easier.
Sites like Speaky let new language learners join an online community of like-minded peers. This allows you to both socialize and learn along the way.
LingoGlobe is an all-in-one hub for first time and veteran language learners alike. The exchange site puts together all the necessary elements to language learning – interaction with native language speakers, free resource materials, and a community of fellow learners.
From the registration, the site will gauge your proficiency in the language you are trying to learn and will adjust to your specified preferences accordingly.
4. InterPals Penpals
Ever wanted a pen pal growing up? Exchanging information with a fellow friend and learning from other people around the globe sounds like a fun thing to do. It’s also been referenced often in popular culture. But now it can even help you become more fluent in another language.
InterPals sets you up with other native language speakers around the globe. The setting isn’t very formal but is still highly conducive to learning. In a group of peers, you’ll feel safe to exchange your learning tips while having fun.
Most of the time, our busy lives prevent us from doing the things we want to do, even on the side. One of these things could be learning a new language. Fortunately, Busuu’s slogan is to provide language learning services even for ten minutes a day. It can really get you a long way for even such a short span of time, as long as you do it daily.
However, unlike other language apps, Busuu offers corrections from actual native speakers, so your learning is also guided by a cultural context. The best part about it is that you don’t need an internet connection all the time.
Babelvillage is an interesting initiative that connects global learners together. It pairs you up with a native language speaker and lets you two interact online. What may be unique about this language learning project is that it comes with other learning options, too.
For instance, Lazy Will, another language learning initiative by the same founders as Babelvillage, will tailor fit a vocabulary-learning style just for you. Based on your learning preferences and proficiency, the app will certainly help anyone get a specialized dose of learning, right at the palm of their hands.
7. Fluent Future
While some learners may find a fun and loose teaching method through native language speaking peers effective for them, others would still want more formal services. Fluent Future offers students both options. Either you can meet native speakers online, or hire a professional for their language services.
Fluent Future acknowledges the various learning preferences people have, and offers its students the option to learn accordingly. They also have a wealth of resource materials to help you practice on your own.
WeSpeke takes language exchange to the next level. Aside from being able to converse with native speakers, you can also exchange video and audio with them. Beyond simple learning, it really is to build new friendships in a global community.
WeSpeke’s services are free, but for those who want a more intensive training, their WeSpeke Shop offers lessons for a small fee. You can also download the WeSpeke apps so you can learn language on-the-go. So far they have a chat that connects you with your global penpals wherever and whenever.
Sometimes a classroom setting is the most efficient way for some learners. However, not everyone will have the time or access to good teachers. Fortunately, Verbling have an online community of professional language teachers whom you can contact at any time.
Imagine a Skype call with your teacher – that’s exactly how Verbling works. Converse, learn, and master a language through video chat with your language mentor. Take classroom learning outside the four walls and into the screen of your PC or laptop. Learn at your own pace and on your own time, with a highly specialized learning regimen that will be catered for your specific needs.
10. Polyglot Club
Like other language exchange sites, Polyglot Club is an online community for language learners to meet fellow students. But it also offers lessons on topics that can help you learn more intensively. Join topics and enter the conversation with your fellow online learners. Think of it as a literal club where everyone is there to mingle, but also to learn something new from each other.
The languages available range from English to other popularly studied languages around the world – French, Spanish, etc.
Learning a new language doesn’t always mean you need to break the bank. Sometimes, you can even have fun while doing it! Language exchange programs are a great way to meet new friends, learn a language, and master it.
Stacey Marone is a freelance writer and contributor for Scholar Advisor. She likes exploring new cultures, languages and gathering interesting facts. In her free time, she also does volunteer work and organizes some activities for children. You can follow her on Twitter.