Destinations Magazine

Free Language Learning for World Travelers

By Expatgermany @Laurel_Robbins
easiest language to learn_baby bird

If my Spanish was better I would have told this cute little booby bird in the Galapagos to not sleep in his own poop.

Even the easiest language to learn takes some effort, but often world travelers would like to learn at least a few words and phrases in the language of the country they will be traveling to.  Before I went to Mexico, I enrolled in an expensive night course to study Spanish, the easiest language to learn for English native speakers.  I did learn some Spanish along the way, but for world travelers jetting off to different countries all the time,  often time, money or both are lacking to take a language course.

A few years later, my Spanish long forgotten, and pressed for time, I registered in a Spanish in a Day Course.

Spanish may be the easiest language to learn,
but it cannot be learned in a day.

I left with my head spinning.  Flash forward a few years later as I was preparing for my first trip to Germany.  I didn’t have the time to enroll in a German class, but wanted to pick up a few words before I left.  Through an internet search I found the BBC Language Learning Site.  They offer FREE twelve week online programs of French, German, Italian and even the easiest language to learn, Spanish.   I set my expectations low. How good could a free online language learning course be?

easiest language to learn_screenshot of BBC Spanish curriculum

Screenshot of the BBC Language learning Site of the Spanish topics you will learn in the 12 week course.

As I had nothing to lose, I tried it and was instantly hooked on learning German online.  I was thoroughly impressed (and I used to be an English Teacher and have worked extensively in education, so I’m not easy to impress).  The modules were very practical and built around the language needs of world travelers.  (If you’ve ever had to pantomime the word for diarrhea to a pharmacist when traveling you will know how valuable a few key phrases can be).  I enjoyed learning tasks that were broken down into 4 building blocks.  You start with an easy exercise reviewing what you’ve just learned, and the exercises get increasingly more difficult with each of the 4 steps.  You complete each module at your own pace, but it’s recommended that you do one a week, but you’re free to do it whenever it is convenient for you and at your own speed.

There are also audio and video components so you could hear the language being spoken and world travelers even have the option of downloading the audio files into their mp3 player for further practice.

easiest language to learn_screenshot of BBC listening

You click on the word to hear it in the foreign language and then practice saying it yourself. Screenshot courtesy of the BBC Language Learning Site.

The other thing I really like about the BBC Language Learning Site is that for German, French, Spanish and Italian they also have links to TV and radio programs in those languages so that you can get used to hearing the language being spoken in a regular context.  The Spanish page is especially well developed.  Perhaps because it’s the easiest language to learn it is also a popular language to learn.  On the Spanish page there are numerous articles, quizzes and crossword puzzles you can do in Spanish.  Although the 12 week online program is only available for the languages listed above, the BBC Language Learning Site also has resources and phrase books available for other languages as well.

I would highly recommend the free BBC Language Learning Site for anyone wanting to learn the basics of a language.  I certainly didn’t become fluent in German after the 12 Week German Steps Program, nor is that the intention of the program, but I did learn some basic German language skills which made me feel more comfortable when traveling around Germany.

Note:  This is an UNSPONSORED post – I just happen to really like the BBC Language Learning Site.  All opinions expressed are my own.

What other free language learning sources can you share?

You may also be interested in:
What I Learned From Choosing the Wrong Foreign Language School
5 Fun Language Learning Techniques
Best Way to Learn a Language Besides Speaking It


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