9 Ways to Learn a Second Language for Cheap

If learning a second language is on your bucket list, there are some great, cheap, and fast ways to learn a new language that don’t require hours in a classroom.

Here are some of those great, cheap, and fast resources:

1. Make Your Phone Do The Heavy Lifting.  Download cheap or free language apps, such as flashcards, quizzes, and language books.  

Duolingo is one of my favorites, and it scores top reviews by adults and kids alike.

The best part? Many language apps are free and accessible anywhere and on various platforms — desktops, ipads, iphones, etc — and offer many language options, including French, Spanish, Irish, Danish, Turkish, Swedish, and more.

2.  Language Meet-ups.  Check out local newspapers, community calendars, and blogs to find language meet-ups and conversational groups.  Be on the lookout for language meet-up announcements hanging on old fashioned, community bulletin boards. At these meet-ups and groups, you’ll find people who are also interested in learning a language and improving speaking/language skills . Libraries, bookstores, community arts centers, and coffee shops often host weekly free or cheap conversational language groups.   

The best part?  Your can practice your speaking skills with other like minded language enthusiasts.  You may also make new friends who share similar travel interests and support your enthusiasm for adventure–that’s a nice perk since it’s not always easy to find support for a wanderlust habit.

3.  Connect with Other Language Speakers Online.  Practice the language online, connecting, and conversing with other speakers and teachers.  

The best part?  There are free and low-cost options, including one-on-one tutoring, classes, pen pal exchanges, and conversational groups.  Italki is one online language resource that can help you learn with real people from all around the world. This could be especially helpful if you don’t have the budget to hire a personal teacher or tutor or want access to interact with native speakers.

4. Download Podcasts.  Put your time on the treadmill or daily commute to work, and listen to language podcasts that teach you language tips, pronunciation, grammar, and cultural perspectives.

The best part? You can squeeze in language lessons anywhere, anyplace into your day.  Talk about effective multitasking.  You can find Podcasts on iTunes, such as World Languages Podcasting and others, by searching Top Charts for languages.  There are other sources of audio content such as, Radio Lingua Network, which offers Coffee Break podcast content and free audio content on iTunes and Soundcloud.

5. Learn to Love Subtitled Movies.  Resolve to make today your day to start watching foreign films or tv shows.  Not only can watching foreign recorded movies and TV, such as on Netflix or at local independent theaters/cinemas help you to learn a language, but it’s a great way to open a door to many awesome films or shows that you might not otherwise watch.  

The best part?  You’ll pick up on accents, expressions, and cultural mannerism that might escape you by learning from a book or in a classroom.

6. YouTube. YouTube offers a great way to learn language for free.  Find free language lessons, watch fun video clips, listen to music and more in the language you wish to learn.  

The best part?  Free. It won’t cost you anything and you can watch videos anywhere.

7. Social Media.  If you want to learn a language, you’ll need inspiration to stay committed.  Follow others who are interested in foreign language, culture, travel, and adventure on blogs, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and other social media platforms.  

The best part?  You may become so inspired to keep at your language that you end up traveling or permanently moving to a place just so you can speak your language full time!

8. Read Everything You Can in The Targeted Language.  Read online news, celebrity gossip, travel blogs, and everything in between in the language you are trying to learn.

The best part?  You’ll improve your vocabulary and language in no time–plus, you’ll learn culture, trending news and events, and be better prepared for travel and relating to native speakers.

9. Volunteer.  Find a local organization that offers volunteer opportunities that give you the chance to interact with people who speak the language you are trying to learn.  For example, if learning Spanish is your thing, you might find opportunities to tutor Spanish speakers in your native language, while also learning some of theirs. Consider a work, volunteer abroad, or farm stay opportunity abroad.  

The best part?  There’s almost always a need for community volunteers, so your time will be appreciated and you’ll also improve your own language skills.


What has worked for you to learn a new language on the cheap, quick, and easy? 

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