Cheap Ways to Learn a New Language
Cosmopolitan Singapore has been called a melting pot of different cultures with its people’s colourful heritage and traditions to call our own. To add to the mix, we have been seeing an increasing influx of foreigners, not only visiting tourists but those that stay longer, working and living amongst us locals. It could be this or perhaps your never-satiated wanderlust which motivates and inspires you to learn a new language, especially when you are the tourist and want to mingle and live like a local. Apart from signing up for expensive language courses outside of school, you can try the following ways to learn a new language.
Make use of online resources to listen, watch and read
There are tons of free resources online which you can make use of to pick up a language. Native vloggers can share their experiences and help introduce you to conversational phrases that language classes don’t necessarily teach. Such daily conversations could be more helpful to your than grammar classes when you are amongst locals. You can also find podcast series online or on music-streaming apps to listen to while you are on the go, keeping your learning mind and ears active even if you are on a busy schedule. Another great way to learn a language is by reading foreign newspapers or magazines, so you get used to their written word, nuances as well as updates on current affairs.
Reach out and make foreign friends
A great way to pick up conversational language is by making new friends! Keep an eye out for them in school or at networking events at work and you could come to an agreement where they teach you their language and you teach them some Singlish or local slang to enrich their stay in Singapore! Of course, you can also host them while they are here by bringing them to local haunts or inviting them for a local meal at your place. This would increase the opportunity for you to interact and learn even more about the other’s culture, not just the language.
Use SkillsFuture to commerce your language programme
For those that prefer a more structured route, Singaporeans can take advantage of SkillsFuture credit that they receive from the government once they hit 25 years old, which is meant to encourage life-long learning. The credit can be used to offset fees of eligible courses such as language classes. You can take advantage of these credits if you would like to try having a structured path to building the foundations of your language journey, or if you need a trial class to see if taking classes is suitable or beneficial for you versus studying it independently.
Immerse yourself in native life
In my opinion, the best and quickest way to learn a language would be to immerse yourself in local life and culture by staying in that country for a period of time, perhaps for an extended holiday, language programme or even internship, especially in countries where they do not use much English. Such an environment would force you to think on your feet and make use of your existing language skills. Moreover, hearing the locals speak their language in their native accent would help you work on your speaking skills and vocabulary, as you try to understand new words and phrases in their local slang.
And voila! These are my tips for picking up a new language on your own – do share in the comments if you have additional tricks to make learning easier on a budget.