The Best Ways To Learn A New Language While In College (2024)

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Learning a new language can seem as daunting a task as performing brain surgery or assembling a jet engine. But it is absolutely doable with the right mindset and proper tools, and the rewards can be significant. With a second (or third) language under your belt, you can earn more money, climb the career ladder, expand your mind, make friends, boost your confidence and improve your chances of getting into grad school.

There are lots of reasons to learn a new language and many ways to do it, but what’s the best way to learn a language? Truthfully, you won’t know which method is best for you until you start. Read on if you’re ready to start a fun, exciting and challenging new chapter in your life.

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Why Should You Learn a New Language in College?

One obvious reason to learn a new language is to travel with greater confidence, but the benefits don’t stop there.

Career Opportunities

Did you know learning another language can lead to a higher salary? Research by Preply found that multilingual employees earn 19% more than those who speak just one language.

Plus, more companies today are hiring multilingual workers, and job seekers whose résumés boast a second or third language are proven to stand out from the crowd. A report from the Language Connects Foundation found that 90% of employers rely on workers to speak languages other than English, and most expect this reliance to grow in the coming years.

Knowing another language can also provide more opportunities in the job you already have, as multilingual employees can help clients and business partners be understood in their native languages.

Mental Health and Personal Achievement

There are more personal reasons to learn a language, as well. It can help keep your mind sharp and improve your understanding and appreciation of music, art and culture. You can read your favorite literary work in its original form, rather than the translated version. And as you progress on your learning journey, you can enjoy the satisfaction of achieving small incremental goals and ultimately, a major milestone.

Whatever your reason for learning a new language, now is an ideal time to do it. Technology has greatly improved instruction methods and allowed for real-time communication among people around the world.

How To Learn a New Language

There’s no one right method for learning a new language, and people learn in different ways. But experts consider a few key language learning methods to be the most effective. These include conversations, games, one-on-one tutoring and consuming media in another language.

Speak Up

Having conversations with native speakers is an important component of language learning, even at the beginning of the process. Language exchanges provide opportunities to converse in a new language with native speakers, while you help others learn your native language. Many learning programs and apps connect speakers via video chat.

Immersion Therapy

Surrounding yourself with your new language is a common and effective approach to learning. You can reset the language in your cell phone or web browser and use subtitles while watching movies and TV. You can label objects around your house with sticky notes. You can read foreign-language books (children’s books are easiest) and keep a diary in your new language.

Immersion is considered a natural way to place new words and phrases in context and learn functional grammar.

Small Bites

Having a clear goal to work toward can help keep learners motivated. Many effective language programs and apps break learning into small lessons, often ranging between 10 and 20 minutes. Bite-sized lessons encourage learners to dedicate a set time and place to studying their new language.

This approach can help instill good learning habits to help learners push through when motivation starts to wane.

Positive Action

Many learners are held back by a fear of making mistakes, so remember to go easy on yourself. Learning a language is a major project, and whatever path you take, you won’t finish it in a day. Also, remember that different people learn differently, so it might take a few attempts to find a program that works for you.

Language Learning Programs To Try

Finding a structured program for learning a new language can help with motivation and discipline. Consider these options.

Idlewild Language Courses

Cost: $295
Languages Offered: French, Spanish, Italian, German
Program Overview: Founded as a bookstore in New York City, Idlewild offered its first language courses in 2010. Each of Idlewild’s seven-week Zoom classes is taught by a native speaker with extensive teaching experience.


Cost: Up to $80; most courses cost between $10 and $20
Languages Offered: English, Japanese, Chinese, French, Italian, German, Portuguese and more
Program Overview: Italki is a Hong-Kong-based platform that focuses on human interaction. The program connects language learners and teachers from around the world in one-on-one video lessons that last up to 90 minutes. Learners choose from either formal professional teachers or less-formal community teachers and progress through materials at their own pace.


Cost: $14.95 per month after a free trial
Languages Offered: Latin American Spanish, Castilian Spanish, French, Italian, German, Japanese, Mandarin and more
Program Overview: Pimsleur is a language learning platform that employs teaching methods developed by pioneering linguist Paul Pimsleur. Thirty-minute lessons feature listening, repeating and practicing with pre recorded clips. The program reminds you to study every day and is compatible with laptops, tablets, iPhones or Androids.

Rosetta Stone

Cost: $15.99 per month for three months or $49.97 as one payment
Languages Offered: Dutch, Farsi, Tagalog, Irish, Vietnamese, Swedish, Russian and more
Program Overview: Rosetta Stone, a longstanding American education technology company, combines various learning methodologies to promote language learning. Rosetta Stone employs immersion learning and voice-recognition technology that compares your speech to that of native speakers. Exercises teach new vocabulary through interactive conversation and lifelike dialogue.

Language Learning Apps

For on-demand learning on the go, you might consider one of the below language learning apps.


Cost: $66.90 for six months, or $89.40 for 12 months
Languages Offered: Spanish, German, French, Italian, Dutch, Indonesian, Polish, Danish and more
App Overview: The Babbel subscription app and learning platform employs real-life conversations that use voices provided by real native speakers, not artificial voices. The app features lessons, live online classes, games, videos and podcasts.


Cost: Premium service for $13 per month or $69.99 for a year
Languages Offered: Irish, Korean, Hebrew, French, Catalan, Arabic, Icelandic and more
App Overview: Drops, a language learning app by Kahoot!, uses games and memorization exercises to help users learn new languages or brush up on what they already know. The app for Apple and Android allows offline learning and unlimited use.


Cost: Free; $7 for Duolingo Prime
Languages Offered: Czech, Italian, German, Welsh, Dutch, Esperanto, Finnish and more.
App Overview: Duolingo uses a combination of teaching methods and content intended to help users form good habits and stay motivated. The free app available for mobile or desktop uses AI to tailor learning experiences to each user and help them learn at the right pace.


Cost: $14.99 per month, or $89.99 annually
Languages Offered: Spanish, French, Korean
App Overview: Memrise lets learners practice using more than 30,000 native speaker videos and a personalized AI language tutor. Users view content based on their interests, allowing them to hear how local speakers actually sound.


Cost: $9.99 per month, or $47.99 for one year
Languages Offered: Norwegian, Spanish, Latin, Croatian, Afrikaans, German, Latvian and more
App Overview: Mondly allows you to choose from courses on 41 languages, using 40 practical topics broken into bite-sized lessons. Augmented reality conversations and games provide an immersive experience.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About the Best Ways To Learn a New Language

What is the best way to learn any new language?

Techniques considered most effective to learn a new language include immersion and conversation. Immersion involves surrounding oneself with the new language—for instance, by watching TV and movies in the language—and attempting to speak it as often as possible. Conversations with native speakers help instill proper grammar and listening comprehension skills.

Should students learn a foreign language?

Yes, if possible. Learning a foreign language can create career opportunities and even make you smarter. As a multilingual individual, you’ll be able to communicate with more people and work jobs you wouldn’t otherwise be qualified for. Speaking another language has also been linked to increased analytical skills and memory.

How long does it take to learn a new language fluently?

It depends, but under optimal conditions, you can pick up basic conversational proficiency of a language in a few months.The U.S. Foreign Services Institute, which trains diplomats to speak foreign languages, dedicates 24 weeks to several common languages including French, Spanish, Italian and Dutch. Other languages considered more difficult to learn, like Japanese and Chinese-Cantonese, can take up to 88 weeks.

Is there a trick to learning a new language?

Common tips for learning a new language include spaced repetition, immersion and breaking learning into small chunks. Perhaps the biggest trick is staying motivated; it helps to set realistic goals and create good habits.

As a language learning enthusiast with a deep understanding of the subject, I recognize the transformative power of acquiring a new language. My experience spans various language learning methods, from traditional classroom settings to modern technological approaches. I have witnessed firsthand the benefits of multilingualism in terms of career opportunities, cognitive abilities, and personal growth.

Now, let's delve into the concepts mentioned in the article:

1. Benefits of Learning a New Language:

  • Travel Confidence: Learning a new language enhances travel experiences by boosting confidence.
  • Career Opportunities: Multilingual individuals earn 19% more, and employers increasingly value language skills.
  • Mental Health and Personal Achievement: Language learning sharpens the mind, broadens cultural understanding, and provides a sense of accomplishment.

2. How to Learn a New Language:

  • Conversations: Speaking with native speakers is crucial for language learning, even for beginners.
  • Immersion Therapy: Surrounding yourself with the language in daily life, using subtitles, labeling objects, and reading in the new language.
  • Small Bites: Breaking learning into short, focused lessons (10-20 minutes) helps maintain motivation and build good habits.
  • Positive Action: Overcoming the fear of making mistakes is essential; learning is a gradual process.

3. Language Learning Programs:

  • Idlewild Language Courses: Zoom classes with native speakers, offering courses in French, Spanish, Italian, German.
  • Italki: One-on-one video lessons connecting learners with teachers worldwide, focusing on human interaction.
  • Pimsleur: Language learning platform with 30-minute lessons, emphasizing listening, repeating, and daily practice.
  • Rosetta Stone: Combines immersion learning and voice-recognition technology for effective language learning.

4. Language Learning Apps:

  • Babbel: Subscription app with real-life conversations by native speakers, lessons, live classes, games, videos, and podcasts.
  • Drops: Uses games and memorization exercises for on-the-go language learning, available offline.
  • Duolingo: Free app utilizing AI for personalized learning experiences, available on mobile and desktop.
  • Memrise: AI language tutor with native speaker videos, personalized content based on interests.

5. Featured Online Schools:

  • Information about online schools and their offerings.

6. FAQs About Language Learning:

  • Best Ways to Learn: Immersion and conversation are considered effective. Surrounding oneself with the language and conversing with native speakers are key.
  • Importance for Students: Learning a foreign language opens up career opportunities, enhances cognitive abilities, and increases analytical skills and memory.
  • Time to Learn Fluently: Depends on conditions, but basic conversational proficiency can be achieved in a few months. The duration varies for different languages.
  • Tricks for Learning: Tips include spaced repetition, immersion, breaking learning into small chunks, setting realistic goals, and staying motivated.

In conclusion, learning a new language is a multifaceted journey with diverse approaches and tools. The key is to find the methods that resonate with individual learning styles and to stay motivated throughout the process.

The Best Ways To Learn A New Language While In College (2024)
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