There are many people out there who want to learn a language in their spare time. They have dreams of becoming fluent in their language of choice and travelling to countries where their language is spoken, becoming best friends with the locals at the same time
Unfortunately, so many of these people fall at the first hurdle – finding time for language practice. And the biggest cause of this is usually their jobs. Including their commutes to and from work, their work takes up a large portion of their week, seemingly leaving very little time to dedicate to language learning. Due to not being able to find time to hone their language skills, they give up completely, resigning themselves to never learning another language in this lifetime.
Work takes up a lot of time and can dominate people’s lives, there’s no doubt about it. But we’re here to show you a few ways that you can improve your language skills around your work, allowing you to learn that language you’ve always wanted to learn.
Learn a language on your commute
For some people, the commute to work can feel like it lasts a lifetime. In extreme cases, some people are commuting 2 hours EACH WAY to their job, which is an insane amount of time. Many people will just spend this time listening to music or catching up on their favourite shows.
How about using this time to learn a language? You’ve got so much idle time here, you could easily put it towards learning some Spanish (which would be our language of choice, of course). Whether this consists of reading a book, scanning the daily news in your chosen language (using apps such as BBC Mundo, the Spanish version of BBC news) or using a language-learning app, this would be a great use of your commute. Not only will you be learning a language, it will also make the journey go much faster too!
Study your language before work
It’s common for people to plan their daily language practice, but when they get home from a long day at work they feel too tired and don’t have any motivation to sit down and dedicate time to language learning. This is understandable, but if this becomes a pattern it will be impossible to improve your language skills.
How to get around this? Make sure to include your language learning in your morning routine, before you set off for work! By scheduling your day in this way, you make sure you are prioritising your hobby – including it at the time when you will have most energy makes it very likely that you’ll get it done.
Now I’m not at all advocating sacrificing sleep or breakfast for language learning (I LOVE language learning, but this would be too far). It’s more about going to bed half an hour earlier so that you can wake up with a bit more time and fit in your daily learning.
Watch shows in your chosen language
A very common way for people to unwind is by watching a few episodes of a show on Netflix. Downtime is very important, and without it, you’ll burn out very quickly and probably not lead a very happy life.
How about, a couple of days a week, you swap an episode of your favourite show for an episode in your chosen foreign language. There are ever more foreign-language shows on the popular streaming sites nowadays (for Spanish, some of the most popular ones are ‘La Casa de Papel’ and ‘Las Chicas del Cable’ – we wrote a whole post about the best Spanish shows on Netflix), and even films if you are willing to strap yourself in for a longer time. Of course, watching these will take that extra bit of concentration, especially if you are a beginner, but they’re a great way of practising your foreign language while being entertained (Tip: use subtitles to help you!).
Use an online language teacher
We might be biased, but we wouldn’t focus our company around this if we didn’t think it was the best way of learning a language. Having an online language teacher is such an effective way of learning the language of your choice. Firstly, they’re able to tailor your learning towards exactly what you want to learn, rather than learning things which aren’t useful to you. Further, you can ask them questions directly about topics you’re finding difficult or don’t quite understand, which they’ll be able to go through there and then. In addition to this, the online aspect means you won’t have to spend time after work travelling somewhere, and you can take the lessons from your room without feeling the need to dress up, or even freshen up.
An additional benefit of our tutors is that they have the ideal combination of having studied Spanish for many years to a very high level as well as having spent significant time in Spanish-speaking countries, and this combination of experience makes them the perfect teacher. Not only this but the fact that our lessons are focused around conversation and getting our students speaking means that you’ll learn to truly speak Spanish while learning relevant grammar and vocabulary, rather than just learning a few words every day which will mostly be words that you won’t ever use.
Hopefully reading this has inspired you to give your language study a second chance, and got rid of the belief that your job prevents you from being able to learn a language.