When you want to learn a new language, it is challenging for many reasons. Mulling over new vocabulary, grammar, and speech patterns is one thing, but gaining the confidence to practice speaking is another.
In the summer of 2015, I graduated from university, and I was actively preparing to move abroad to Spain for the next year. I had all of the usual excitement and fear that any twenty-something would have when closing such a significant chapter in life.
My biggest fear, however, was a version of imposter syndrome that had haunted me for years: the fear of learning a new language, or rather, the fear of properly speaking a new language.
Why Learn Spanish?
My ability to speak Spanish in my new home country was not a job requirement, but the perfectionist in me wouldn’t let me live with that. I was headed to live and work in a small city in northern Spain for one year. While this was a dream come true of sorts, something was eating away at me as the departure date neared.
I wasn’t only moving to Spain to take a gap year filled with sangria and beaches. My top priorities were fostering meaningful relationships and getting a deep understanding and feel for the culture while I was there.
I knew that without putting forth the effort to learn the local language, these types of experiences wouldn’t be available to me. Even if the locals were able to speak English, I wanted to show the Spanish people that I had respected their country and history enough to learn to communicate with them. One of the steps towards doing that was getting over my fear of speaking Spanish.
The thing is, my problem wasn’t that I needed to start from zero. I had already taken years of high school Spanish and was familiar with the difference between ser and estar. My biggest obstacle was being comfortable enough to put it all together in practice. In conversations with Spanish speakers, I would doubt myself so much that I would freeze or forget what I was talking about. The frustrating feeling of not properly communicating how I felt overshadowed my ability to speak.
What I needed, months before heading to Spain to start my new life, was a medium to refresh all of the Spanish I knew. I needed a way to practice old and new vocabulary and help build my confidence in a way that didn’t require a classroom or a textbook.
Tools like Babbel are a great way to give you the confidence to start speaking a new language because they meet you where you are. Babbel is something that is simple and effective, it doesn’t take up too much of your time and it sticks.
Here are 5 ways Babbel can help you get over your fears and learn a new language.
5.) You Can Practice Having Real Life Conversations
A lot of people get stumped when it comes to language theory and grammar.
If your goal is to have a conversation in a new language with a local, why not start now? With Babbel, you skip through all of the theory and grammar and start speaking. Their lessons have several simulated “real-life” conversations that help you sound as natural as possible.
Perhaps you’re starting from scratch, or maybe you’ve taken lessons in the classroom. Either way, chances are you may not have had much time to practice speaking on a day to day basis. Furthermore, how do you say things in the way a native speaker would? What are some of the colloquial, informal ways to say things?
For me, it was important to adapt to the natural way that they speak in Spain. With Babbel’s conversation practice, I was able to reinforce vocabulary and help myself get comfortable with the flow of conversation.
Don’t worry about talking to a robot. All of Babbel’s content is made with language experts and narrated by native speakers. It’s a great way to get familiar with the pattern of speech, no matter what your level is.
4.) You’ll Start Speaking With Confidence
Have you ever been worried about pronouncing or saying something incorrectly?
Babbel has a few tools to ensure that you not only start speaking fast, but you start to speak with confidence. For those who have a fear of making a mistake, Babbel uses its interactive dialogue with speech technology to correct your speech. During their interactive conversations, you can enable your microphone on your smartphone or your computer. Via the microphone, you can practice reading and repeating the sentences and phrases. The system will only let you move on to the next level once you’ve said something correctly.
For anyone that has issues with speaking or a fear of being corrected, this could be a great buffer to get you ready for the real-life conversations you’ll have. Through the daily lessons and reviews that reinforce what you’ve learned, you can start to gain the skills to speak confidently in the real world.Learn More ➤➤
3.) You’ll Get Short, On-the-Go Lessons That Stick
One of the biggest deterrents that adults have to learn a new language is that they don’t have time.
People are busy, and not everyone has time to enroll in classes and go the traditional route. Time constraints are real, and most people find it difficult to fit language learning into their hectic schedules.
The short, bite-sized lessons were something that attracted me to using Babbel. If you’re anything like I was the summer before I moved to Spain, you are busy with work, events, and other obligations that leave you with little free time.
The great thing about learning with Babbel is that their lessons are easy to fit into your busy schedule. Most of their lessons last about 10-15 minutes tops. That’s enough to do while on your commute, on break, or even while you’re relaxing at home. The Babbel lessons are concise, effective, and perfect for on-the-go.
2.) You Can Cater It to Your Interests
It’s proven that language learning is significantly more effective when you apply it to the things you already love. Why not make learning a language more catered to your interests?
Babbel also gives you the option to choose your lessons based on your specific preferences. I knew that I would be interested in exploring the local gastronomy, history, and cultural traditions of Spain once I got there. On Babbel, you can choose lessons related to these topics and learn relevant vocabulary and phrases.
This tool comes especially in handy for people who are learning a language for work or career-related reasons. Choose the Business Spanish course if you’ve got a business trip coming up and want to learn related vocabulary. This course is similar to the regular courses, but it is curated to get you ready to speak confidently in these particular settings. You can practice with the interactive dialogues in meeting, interview, and other professional settings. This is a wonderful option for any career-minded language learners because having a second or third language can give you an advantage in the job market.
1.) You Can Have a Quick Turnaround Time
The most rewarding part of this journey was finding myself slowly coming out of my shell. The simple lessons both helped to reinforce what I already knew and taught me new information. When I finally made the move to Spain and started to make friends, I was able to relax while practicing my second language.
Consistency is key, and if you stay with it for at least three weeks, you’ll start to notice a difference. If you’re a beginner, then you’ll start to lay the groundwork for your language journey. For intermediate and advanced-level learners, you’ll start to build on your knowledge with a focus on oral practice.
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Remember that the goal is not becoming fluent in as little time as possible — it’s to be able to start speaking. Everyone has to start somewhere. You can do that in as little as three weeks. Babbel can give you the solid framework you need to continue your journey learning a language. Getting out and speaking was the hardest part, but once you do it you open yourself to a new world.