Four reasons why lockdown is the perfect time to learn a new language!

Even though it's been one full year since the COVID-19 pandemic turned our lives upside down, we are still in lockdown in many places. So, if you’re out of TV shows and movies to binge watch, or just want to pick up a new skill, here are four reasons why this is the perfect time to start learning a new language.

 

1. More free time

Personally, during lockdown, I have often found myself bored and unsure of what to do with my new abundance of free time. Sure, I still have responsibilities such as online school; however, I have found myself lacking mental stimulation outside my studies. My new free time has allowed me to immerse myself in the language learning process. With more time to spare, I have been able to explore language in different ways. For example, through movies, music, podcasts, YouTube, and online magazines. Netflix also has an extensive international film/show archive. Usually, I start by adding English subtitles to the films, but now I am able to watch the films with subtitles in the original language! Additionally, I find observing people speaking the language naturally has allowed me to pick up on different phrases and vocabulary that are not always taught through an official course. 

 

2. New connections

One of the best parts about learning a new language is the new connections you are able to make. Learning a language opens your world to a whole new community of people, both native speakers and other language learners. During a time that can feel very isolating, it is especially enjoyable to meet new people, even if it is through an online platform. There are many online communities that are available for language learners to join, such as the Duolingo forum, where learners and native speakers can connect. After the pandemic, thanks to these new connections, it will be easier to integrate into communities where the language is spoken - either locally or abroad. 

Colleagues sitting at a table Photo by Brooke Cagle from Unsplash

3. Opens your mind to a new culture 

In a time when staying within the same four walls day in and day out can sometimes feel suffocating, I find myself missing travel more than ever. As someone who names one of her biggest passions as exploring new cultures and places, I have found it especially difficult to go without it this past year. However, learning a new language has brought some of this excitement back into my daily life while staying within the comfort of my own home. Some ways I have been able to explore a new culture while still practicing my language skills have been through cooking new cuisine and reading the instructions in the original language, doing research on countries and areas of the world where the language is spoken, and reading local newspapers. YouTube is also a great platform to see the language being used in natural settings. I have found some engaging vloggers in my target language, and not only does this help me with my comprehension, but I also get to experience their daily lives in a different part of the world. 

 

4. Opens up future opportunities post-pandemic

Learning a language is a valuable life skill that can always come in handy. Language skills give a job applicant a significant competitive advantage that can set them apart from their peers. Also, in many instances, language skills can lead to potential hiring bonuses and increased salaries. Additionally, once travel is permitted again, having knowledge in the local language will revolutionize the way you experience a trip abroad. Travelers who speak the local language are able to more easily navigate outside the tourist bubble and connect with the place and its people on a deeper level. 

roadtrip map Photo by Tabea Damm from Unsplash