Top 7 Ways of Learning Foreign Languages Without Going Abroad

Learning languages is the key to other cultures, making friends from around the world and a life without boredom. Making mistakes is an inevitable part of learning and using another language. Probably the best way to deal with the uncomfortable feeling of sounding like a fool when trying to say something important is to not take oneself too seriously.

Bearing this in mind, I have compiled a list of the seven best ways to learn a foreign language without even stepping foot outside your own country. The ranking is founded upon the uncontrollable power of my imagination, my own humble experience and the frustrating truth that there are so many things that we will never quite master.

7. Getting adopted: Try to find a nice childless foreign couple that is willing to raise you with love and patience with another language. Problem: Leaving your current family is the high price you have to pay. Maybe you can suggest living in a commune with both your former and new parents.

6. Getting it on with the au pair: No idea how this could work! Problem: The age difference as well as the gender problem, – I’ve never come across a male au pair – which could make it difficult for most of the language lovers to combine passion and study.

5. Get a new citizenship: Why not get yourself a new citizenship? In this way you could go abroad and stay at home at the same time. Problem: Even though it’s theoretically not cheating, it’s still a bit of unfair play.

4. Tell your language partner that you suffer from a rare tongue disease that makes it impossible to speak in your native language again. Problem: Your language partner won’t stay your language partner anymore due to the one-sided exchange.

3. Become the teacher’s pet in the language course, always help him or her carry the bag and accompany them everywhere possible. And while doing so talk, talk, talk! Problem: Please, that’s disgusting!

2. Get the best tools and textbooks, find some friends who are native speakers and work your arse off: Diligence is still highly recommended when it comes to studying, unless you are one of these bloody talented language cracks who pick up languages like flowers in summer. Problem: It takes lot of time and dedication to learn this way.

1. Be one of these bloody talented language cracks who pick up language like flowers in summer. Problem: I am definitely not one of them.

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6 thoughts on “Top 7 Ways of Learning Foreign Languages Without Going Abroad”

  1. hahha, great article, thanks for the cool ideas! already thinking about the adoption one, but not new parents, new grandparents, some nice old foreign couple. i mean, parents can be nasty sometimes, grandparents are cool all-year round:)…

  2. Aaaah jonas, you were right when you told me it was a great article !!
    Humor allied to realism, realism coupled with erudition… Pr Jonas, you’re the wisdom made man.

    In French, it’s said that the best way is definitely to “learn languages on the pillow” (apprendre sur l’oreiller).

  3. Nice article!

    But you forgot about one way of language learning:

    Go on bab.la, register, do all the language quizzes, games and vocabulary lessons, and you’re save to book the next flight abroad.

    Oh, don’t blame me if it doesn’t work out. Har har!

  4. Yep, I’ve checked the vocabulary exercises and agree with Thomas. They are great and for free!!!
    However, Jonas already mentioned tools like this which together with time, dedication and maybe a (fair;) language exchange can help a lot.
    But then, I can understand Jonas’ desperation. Sometimes it’s soooooooooo hard to motivate oneself.
    Why is it so difficult? Why can’t they put Italian fluency on the menu of my favourite Italian restaurant?
    That would be so easy. You have a great dinner and when you go home you are fluent in the language you like…
    To all the language lovers: Hang in there!!

    S

  5. In Brazil we say we can learn through `osmosis´: just be close to the books or to someone that knows the language or the subject that you will learn it =)

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