This is the question we language learners ask ourselves nearly everyday.
How can we learn the language we cherish without giving up everything to move to the country?
I started my language journey half-heartedly three years ago. I started with a bit of Duolingo and read an article about the Italian every so often. It wasn’t until I got to Italy that I saw how intensive learning a language would have to be, in order to learn it to speak with natives.
It is not impossible. It can be fun.
I am lucky enough to have the opportunity come to me in the next year to be able to move to Italy to learn la bella lingua, Italiano. However, prior to that, I have an ambitious but achievable goal: be able to speak Italian very well before getting there.
I say ‘achievable’ because I am already able to speak conversationally in Italian consistently enough (with bad days in between). At the end of the day, even if I don’t speak Italian more easily before I arrive in Italy, it’s okay because I will be moving there to learn.
My experiences of teaching myself, yet also having this fantastic opportunity ahead of me got me thinking. It’s true, you can learn a language without going to a country that speaks it. However, here are the things you need to consider:
- Are you ready to prioritise this language over other hobbies and activities in your day?
- Have you got a language learning routine for every day?
- Are you ready to get out of your comfort zone to speak to native speakers on HelloTalk, Skype, Italki, at Meet-Ups and through other connections?
- Are you dedicated to actively searching what you need to learn next, even if you are doing a class or partaking in private lessons?
- Would you consider moving to a neighbourhood or city in your country that has a bigger community of the language speakers?
I truly believe if you realistically plan for these things and build up the habits, you don’t need to move to the country. Obviously some languages have more speakers available than others but that’s why the internet is great.
It will take hard work and dedication but it’s possible.
Now, go and think about how important this language is to you.
Write a plan for the next week, month, three months and what your smaller and bigger goals are.
Do you agree with me or disagree? Leave a comment below.