8 bilinguals revealed how they mastered new languages from home

Are you eager to embark on a language-learning journey but find yourself constrained by the demands of daily life? 

Fret not! 

With the same tips that these bilinguals (and multilinguals) kindly share below, you can craft an effective language learning routine from the comfort of your own home. 

7 folks that we interviewed have some fascinating stories – they wanted to learn new languages without stepping out of their homes. Some didn’t have much money, others had no time for school… but they used smart methods and now, they’re rocking multiple languages. Their lives got a whole lot more colorful.

We were so moved by their stories that we decided to leave them in this article for everyone to read! Because… it is perfectly doable to master a new language from home! 

Step 1: set clear goals 

Before diving into the sea of language learning, it’s crucial to define your goals. Knowing why you want to learn a new language will provide motivation and purpose throughout your journey. 

Emma, a young woman from US, told us:

“I speak Spanish, Portuguese and Polish. I jumped into several language learning adventures, and I always figured out what the heck I wanted to achieve with each one of them. Like, what’s my endgame? It’s super important to know your goals before you start, or you’ll be lost at sea, trust me!”

She suggests that you consider the following questions:

  • Why do you want to learn this language?
  • Do you aim to use it for travel, work, connecting with family, or simply for personal enrichment?
  • Are there any specific proficiency levels you’d like to achieve (e.g., basic conversational skills, fluency, or mastery)?
  • Setting clear goals will help you tailor your language learning routine to your unique needs. For instance, if you’re learning French to communicate while traveling, your focus might be on conversational skills. In contrast, if you’re learning Mandarin for business purposes, you might emphasize writing and reading proficiency.

Step 2: choose the right resources 

Mateo has some active partners on the Speaky app. He had been interested in Chinese since very young, and it was time to dive deeper in it. It didn’t take long for him to master a second language, from his coach, in Serbia:

“So I was all pumped up to learn a new language from home, and I immediately decided for Mandarin, of course! I knew I could do that by using the internet, but I had to figure out where to start, you know? There were a ton of resources! So, I began by checking out a bunch of different language apps and websites. I read reviews, asked for recommendations from friends, and looked at what they offered. After some research, I found the perfect resource that clicked with my learning style. It’s all about finding the one that feels right for you!”

Once Mateo had his goals in mind, it was time to select the right resources for his language journey. Here’s a list of common resources he used:

  • Online Language Courses: Platforms like Duolingo, Babbel, Rosetta Stone, and Coursera offer structured language courses that cater to various proficiency levels.
  • Language Learning Apps: Apps such as Memrise, HelloTalk, and Drops provide interactive lessons and opportunities to practice with native speakers.
  • Textbooks and Workbooks: Traditional language learning materials are still valuable. Look for well-reviewed textbooks and accompanying workbooks.
  • Online Tutors or Language Exchange Partners: Websites like iTalki and Tandem can help you connect with native speakers for language exchange or one-on-one tutoring.
  • Podcasts and YouTube Channels: You can find numerous language learning podcasts and YouTube channels that offer valuable insights, cultural knowledge, and authentic conversations.

A bunch of options – thanks to him!

Remember that the best resources for you may depend on your learning style and the specific language you’re studying.

Step 3: create a consistent schedule 

Jorge is mastering his second language from home, in Honduras, while finishing his high school. He claims that a consistent schedule is all you need to be a bilingual:

“I wanted to get serious about mastering this new language from home. What I did was set up a daily schedule. I’d designate a specific time every day for my language practice. Like, maybe right after breakfast or before I hit the hay. I even set reminders on my phone to keep me on track. It helped me stay consistent and make real progress. So, if you want to nail a language from home, get yourself a killer schedule, and stick to it!”

What do you think? It works, right?

Consistency is key in language learning. Building a routine that you can stick to is crucial for making progress. 

Set aside dedicated time for your language learning each day, whether it’s 20 minutes or an hour. It’s often more effective to study a little each day than to cram all at once. Find a time that works best for you, be it in the morning, during lunch breaks, or before bed.

Step 4: mix and match learning methods 

Aisha is an Indian business woman, now multilingual. Things were not easy at first, though:

“So, becoming multilingual from home was quite the journey for me. My wish was to master Spanish and Italian, because of my work, but I ended up learning Turkish too, because I found a partner from Turkey on an app! Can you imagine how tough it was?! I mixed things up big time! I started one language at a time, and for each one I started with some language books – you know, old school stuff. But I didn’t stop there. I watched tons of foreign movies and listened to podcasts to get the real vibe of each language. And yeah, I had my language-learning apps too. They kept it fun. Mixing it all together made me a multilingual champ in no time!”

Astonishing, isn’t it? Variety is the spice of language learning. Don’t limit yourself to a single learning method. Combine different approaches to keep things engaging and effective, like Aisha did:

  • Vocabulary and grammar: Dedicate some time to studying vocabulary and grammar rules. Flashcards, online exercises, and textbooks can be helpful here.
  • Listening and speaking: Practice your listening and speaking skills by watching movies, TV shows, and videos in your target language. Try to mimic the pronunciation and intonation.
  • Reading and writing: Read books, articles, and newspapers in the language you’re learning. Write in a journal or engage in online forums to improve your writing skills.
  • Language apps and games: Use language learning apps and games to reinforce your skills in a fun and interactive way.

Mixing and matching these methods will keep your routine fresh and prevent burnout.

Step 5: track your progress 

Beatrice told us how happy she was for mastering a new language from her home, in Italy! 

She explains why:

“I was all about celebrating my language journey from home! Every time I hit a milestone in German learning, I’d treat myself to something special. Like, when I could have my first conversation with my partner on the Speaky app, without stumbling too much, I treated myself to my favorite takeout. And to keep track of my progress, I’d make little check marks on a chart I hung on the wall! My siblings thought I was getting crazy, but that didn’t matter! It was like my own personal language victory board, and it kept me motivated every step of the way!”

Cool, isn’t it?! We got thrilled too!

To stay motivated, track your progress as you go along. Set achievable milestones and celebrate your successes. You can use apps, journals, or language learning platforms to monitor your improvement. As you hit milestones, you’ll see how far you’ve come and be inspired to keep going.

Step 6: immerse yourself in the language 

Immersing yourself in the language is one of the most effective ways to become fluent. Surround yourself with the language as much as possible.

We talked to Günter, a retired man that travels a lot. He masters English, Brazilian Portuguese, and now is starting Korean – all that from home! He explains:

“I was on a mission to master several languages, and I was all in! I had no time to waste. I started by changing my phone settings to those languages, so every app and menu was a lesson! Then, I filled my playlist with music in that language, so I was jamming and learning at the same time (I love music). I even watched TV shows and movies in that language, many of them on Youtube. It was like living and breathing it! Immersion was the name of the game, and it worked like a charm. I felt like a local in no time (almost forgot my German lol)!”

So, here are his tips:

  • change your phone and computer settings to your target language
  • listen to music
  • watch TV shows and movies
  • try to find language partners who are native speakers or fellow learners to practice with regularly.

Step 7: be patient and persistent 

This interview was with Camila, a Bolivian young lady, working as a pharmacist, very much interested in living abroad. She masters English and is planning to visit her language exchange partner in Scotland!

“You know, learning a new language from home was a rollercoaster, but I decided from the start that I wasn’t gonna let frustration get the best of me. There were moments when I stumbled over words and felt like I was going nowhere… I heard someone saying that it was not possible to master a language from  home…  But I told myself, ‘Hey, it’s all good. This stuff takes time.’ I stayed patient, found a nice friend on an app and kept practicing. And didn’t let a rough day or two slow me down. I confess my pronunciation was terribly difficult at first… but my partner was so gentle that I insisted! It’s like that quote, ‘Progress, not perfection.’ So, I kept going, and now I can see the improvement. In some weeks I’ll be visiting Katie, my language exchange friend, in Scotland! Can’t wait to meet her! Who knows ‘ll be living there?! Learning demands patience, and I’m enjoying every step.”

See?! Learning a new language is a marathon, not a sprint. There will be moments of frustration and plateaus, but persistence is the key to success. Keep in mind that language learning is a journey of self-discovery and cultural exploration. Embrace the process, like Camila, and don’t be discouraged by setbacks. Stay patient and keep going.

Step 8: have feedback

Ask native speakers or language buddies for pointers. It helps you know where you can improve. The Uruguayan Ananda did that successfully:

“So, I’ve been tackling this new language from my couch for a bit now, thanks to this language app. I thought I was getting the hang of it, but I needed some real talk. My nice partner helped so much!

Was I sounding legit or just like a cheesy robot? Did my sentences flow, or did I sound like I was randomly smashing words together?

By doing that I could master French, and learn a lot about France with my partner! Appreciated it!”

The language app Ananda used was Speaky, by the way.

In conclusion

Creating a language learning routine at home is an achievable goal with the right mindset and approach, like these bilinguals and multilinguals taught us.

Set clear goals, choose the right resources, establish a consistent schedule, mix and match learning methods, track your progress, immerse yourself in the language, be patient and persistent and find your partner on Speaky

These are the secrets we were revealed today – follow them and you’ll be well on your way to fluency in your chosen language, opening up a world of opportunities, connections, and personal growth. 

Happy learning from home!

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