Language learning is a huge investment, but it doesn’t have to cost you a kidney! Think about it, how much money have you spent learning your target language? Combine the costs of applications, tutors, notebooks and everything in between, can you give us a price? Well even if you can, hold that thought- language learning is a priceless journey, so price shouldn’t necessarily matter. The important thing is that at the end of the journey you’re successful. However, as I said earlier – it doesn’t have to cost you an arm or a leg.
In this article, we’ll be discussing a zero-dollar budget language learning program and how you can get just as much benefit from it as a normal language learning routine. This is, however, a Creative Language Learning Series so be prepared to take the jump into some uncharted territory. Free things are simple but they are also not found through your normal trek of the woods.
How to Plan Your Language Learning Budget?
So, to do this right you’ll have to use other resources to boost your language learning. Money isn’t an option in this case, but the good news is you have TIME. Sacrificing your time to acquire knowledge or in general anything for that matter is a rule of thumb to have in life. You’ve probably heard the phrase “Time is Money” before but let’s say “Language is Time” for the sake of this article.
Freebies For All
What’s There Already?: Language learning is about Living in The Moment, naturally your study habits and routine should be the same way. We tend to forget the massive amounts of knowledge we have and splurge on things that we don’t even need. Why go out and buy an electronic dictionary for your target language when you have a phone and literally thousands of applications that can do the same? It’s a simple misstep, but it can set you back a couple of bucks.
Here are a few resources you probably have but are overlooking:
- Books You Never Opened
- Free Public Libraries
- iPhone Siri & Microsoft Cortana Language Services
- Phone Apps – Provided you already bought the phone
Newspapers: Some publishing companies dish out free newspapers. So, if you’re already living in the target language country you may be in luck when a fat slab of newspaper lands on your doorstep. Otherwise, you can still find online copies of foreign language newspapers online for free.
Find Real Life People: For some, this might not be an option depending on where you live. As a result, you may turn to online tutors paying hourly for their services, and don’t get me wrong – the results are wonderful (I’ve been there, done that). Yet, going back to step 1, we can be blind to the people right in front of us AKA real-life tutors. Do you have friends who are fluent in your target language or natives? People are FREE resources if they aren’t charging you for that matter. BOTTOM LINE BEING – USE PEOPLE.
Get Lost: This will probably work better if you’re already in your target language country, but nonetheless, it’s extremely effective. When I first arrived in Japan I got lost about 7 times a week (that’s every day by the way). It actually wasn’t as terrifying as it sounds. I learned many things and met a ton of strangers, yet most of all it was fun! Natives also teach you things you don’t normally run into on a daily basis. So by all means, get lost- literally!
Free Your Mind – Imagination
One of my favorite songs has a very peculiar line within the lyrics. It goes “ Imagination brings bliss at no cost when I blink blink I receive at no loss.” When thinking about this line more deeply in terms of language learning there is a lot to unpackage. Even if you’re not in your target language country you can still imagine plenty of scenarios.
For example, before I came to Japan I played out multiple scenes in my head of what would happen while I’m there and how I’d be able to apply my language skills to these situations.
- I walked into the convenience store only to read all of the labels on the chocolate boxes. P.S I love chocolate.
- Speaking to the bookstore attendant to find one of my favorite series.
- Finding my way through the train station – reading the station maps to eventually get to my destination. With this image, try to imagine your entire day instead of just one train/bike ride.
Since the imagination is quite vast you can literally think of an endless combination of situations where you’re using your language skills. Doing this frequently can lead to a clearer mind and prepare you for future conversations.
On The Flip Side – Make Money!
So we’ve talked about learning a language for free, but what about getting paid to learn a language? There is such a thing, but it may prove difficult to accomplish depending on the methods you choose to uptake.
Find an Ideal Workplace: You can score major learning points by landing a job that frequently uses the language you’re studying. Not only is this free, but you’ll also be earning money! It’s a win-win situation… not that you’re in it for the money anyway. By the way, If you haven’t read our Language Learning Your CV & You article, we recommend you take a peak.
Jobs exist, we know that for a fact. But getting a job that can assist you in your language journey is a bit of a twist. If you do however manage to land a job in … ohhhh let’s say a fast food chain, your language skills may be required. Ideally, you don’t even have to be in your host country to get a huge amount of value – in more ways than one.
Work as a language teacher teaching your native language to various backgrounds of students.
Work in a culturally themed restaurant where your target language is either spoken or at least visible (on a menu or somewhere else)
If you have previous experience in your target language entering a translation or interpretation company is an option. You’ll be working with both your native and target language so either way comfort won’t necessarily be an issue. Aside from being immersed in familiar languages you get PAID!
This one is a stretch but if you can manage it then jolly good job! Try applying for a scholarship to study in your target country. I don’t really know how to explain the effect of this method because honestly, it’s just that simple…if you manage to get the scholarship of course. There are people and organizations out there who genuinely want to fulfil your desire to learn more about the world, but you have to be willing to work for it – in return, you’ll be compensated with knowledge and money it’s a win-win.
Win A Speech Contest
You’ll need some preparation to pull this off but the good news is the preparation is the grand takeaway. Preparing to win such a bold event takes A LOT of effort, the effort you wouldn’t normally invest in an activity like language learning. Imagine buckling down, learning hundreds of words, speech patterns and presentation techniques to compete in a grand union of language learners. It’s almost too much excitement to handle but we’re in it to win it at the end of the day! If you haven’t caught on yet, these usually pay extremely well IF you win.
Communication is free, why can’t language learning be? There should be no excuse for not learning your target language because you can’t afford a certain resource. The endless flow of knowledge surrounding the discussed methods can ensure that you are persistent in your language learning, even if money isn’t an option. Fluency will come provided you’re motivated and dedicated enough to see it through to the end. However, if you’re thinking about the next best product instead of your approach to language learning then you may end up distracted or lazy for better wording. So stop thinking money and start thinking strategy!