¡Qué bueno!: It’s Learn a Foreign Language Month

December is the heart of the holiday season, but that’s not all. A little known fact, December also happens to be Learn a Foreign Language Month. This winter month is a special opportunity to celebrate linguistic diversity. It’s also an invitation to start learning a new language. Though learning a foreign language is no easy feat, it comes with many benefits that make doing so well worth the effort. By learning a second language, you can develop better cultural awareness, enjoy enhanced communication in places where the language is spoken, and improve your chances in the job market. Learning a new language is truly a gift that keeps on giving, so take advantage of this opportunity to adopt a new tongue. Here are a few ways to get started:

Use an app.

There are many apps available online that are specially designed to help you learn and master a new language. Examples include Duolingo, Babble and Rosetta Stone. In as little as fifteen minutes a day, you can be on your way to becoming conversational in a foreign language. Language apps usually have a very diverse collection of languages to choose from, so you can learn Spanish, Swedish or Swahili and everything in between. 

Take a class.

If you’d prefer to learn a new language in a more structured setting from a fluent instructor, consider taking a class. Savannah Tech offers inexpensive six-week courses in foreign languages. You can also earn undergraduate and graduate degrees and certificates in foreign languages at local universities like Georgia Southern and Savannah State, if you’re interested in more intensive instruction. And, you can enroll at the Savannah Language and Culture Exchange for affordable lessons in Spanish and American Sign Language. They offer both virtual and in-person classes. 

Immerse yourself.

In addition to using apps and taking classes, do your best to immerse yourself in the language you’re trying to learn. Seek out opportunities to engage with native speakers whenever you can, and create situations to surround yourself with the new language. For example, listen to music and podcasts and watch TV and movies in the new language (you can use english subtitles if need be). Go to a restaurant where the language you’re learning is spoken and practice there. Try to practice as often as possible to become familiar with and eventually fluent in your new language.