Maybe the idea of speaking French or Italian sounds romantic. Perhaps your boss told you that you’re going to China next month to close a big business deal. Or is it love?

If you’ve been thinking about learning another language, today’s a great day to start. Here are 3 easy steps you can take right now:

1. Decide what you want to do with the language. You can focus on different aspects of language. For example, do you want to have survival language because you’re going on a trip? Do you want to develop conversational skills? Maybe you just want to be able to read articles and have no intention of ever using your language skills for conversation.

Know what it is you want to do with your foreign language skills. This is the first step to then be able to find appropriate learning resources.

2. Find a free language course. Once you’ve clarified what it is you want to be able to do with the language, now you need to find a free language course online or in your local community. For an online course, start by doing an internet search for free online (X) language course, substituting (X) for the language you want to learn. You’ll see several resources. Browse the selection and focus on what it is you want to develop (e.g. survival language or conversational skills). Consider searching for language lessons on YouTube, Spotify, and iTunes as well. Once you’ve found one or two that look promising, bookmark them to go back and explore later.

In your local community, visit your public library. Most will have audio courses, phrase books, grammar books, and how-to books. You may also want to contact your local adult continuing education office to see if there are low-cost courses available.

Why are lessons and courses important? They offer structure for beginning learners. Whether you complete all of the lessons, skip some, or only use them as a reference, structured courses and materials can guide your self-study.

3. Make a schedule. Physically create a schedule for the next week that includes a little time each day to work on learning your new language. Whether it’s 5 minutes or 2 hours, set time aside dedicated to language learning. You can do this on a piece of paper or use a calendar app to help remind you. Whatever scheduling tool you decide to use, make sure that it’s in a place where you’ll see it daily.

These 3 steps will get you started on your language studies today: decide what you want to do with your language skills; find free learning resources; and make a schedule. Carpe diem!

Learn languages much faster than with regular learning methods – in only 17 minutes per day

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