Alongside baking or fitness regimes pick up or master a foreign language now


Living in lockdown has led many people to undertake self-improvement. Alongside baking or fitness regimes, you can choose an intellectual project too—such as picking up or mastering a foreign language. This interactive skill might not seem to be one that is best honed alone. But learning a language in isolation has become much easier than it used to be earlier. It’s true that immersing yourself in a foreign culture has long been the best way to learn a new language. But, that’s not so easy to do in the current climate when the idea of travelling for pleasure is no more than a dream.

In fact, no air ticket to Paris is necessary now. If you need to hear and use a language consistently to be immersed, virtual immersion can be just as effective. Technology makes it possible for immersion to come to you. And please don’t assume that it’s not necessary to learn a new language, given that English is spoken by more than a billion people. A second language isn’t just for the holidays. The UK’s lack of language skills costs an estimated 3.5% of GDP, according to the National Recovery Programme for Languages. On the other hand, small businesses that make use of language skills report “43 per cent higher export/turnover ratios.” Further, two-thirds of firms value foreign language skills in their staff, according to the Confederation of British industry (CBI), which surveyed 28,000 businesses in the UK. They don’t expect fluency, simply that their employees can develop relationships and show cultural awareness.

To hear the language consistently spoken, you can check out for a vast selection of live-streamed radio from your country of choice. The app (free) also has a list of streamed radio stations ordered by language. To watch the language consistently, see what’s trending on Youtube in that country right now. Go to that country’s equivalent URL for Amazon or Ebay (,, etc.) and buy your favourite TV series dubbed in that language, or get a local equivalent by seeing what’s on the top charts. Various news stations also have plenty of video content online in specific languages, such as France24, Deutsche Welle, CNN Español, and many others.

Learning a foreign language is what automatically comes to mind if you are planning to venture into the non-English speaking lands. According to Bhatia and Ritchie (2004) “the 21st century trend in progress is globalization, and with improvement in technology that provides the ability to communicate with anyone, anywhere, more and more companies are working internationally”. Employers will be looking for a valuable employee, one that can correspond with an international partner, investor, customer, etc.

A recent UK survey points out the main European languages most in demand. French was mentioned by 54% of those surveyed, German 51% and Spanish 50%. Chinese has also become an increasingly popular option. India too for a long time has a strong culture of teaching-learning of foreign languages. Charubak Chakrabarty, an alumnus of Amity University Jaipur, boasts that every student in the university is offered a choice between courses in French, German, Chinese and Spanish as a compulsory elective. The university also has undergraduate and Ph.D. programme in French. But the mode of learning face- to- face can be replaced or complemented by online mode of learning as well.

And who knows what the post Corona period has in store for us! The fact that one is fluent in a foreign language may give an edge on their resume, which can make a standout applicant. As a major work benefit of learning a foreign language, foreign business opportunities are attractive for many students, full time job seekers and businessmen. In summary, you can also conduct business with companies operating in those countries more easily because you will be able to communicate directly with your foreign counterparts. Among the benefits of learning a foreign language are the obvious advantages of being able to communicate across cultures with people who speak that language.

Living abroad does not make one efficient in the local language. Take it from me—there is nothing “in the air” in another country that will magically make you able to speak their language. Remember self-learning today is better possible than before with the numerous technological break throughs. The range of options is wide, including apps, podcasts and online classes. Popular apps like Memrise, Babbel, Duolingo, Busuu and Linguaphone are just a click away! The popular apps incorporate quizzes, games and podcasts. Lesson plans are there for reading, listening, and speaking. The app can also record your translations and play them back for you later to let you see whether you have made progress.

One of my more controversial pieces of advice, but one that I absolutely insist on when I advise beginners, is that you must speak the language right away. If you learn French you should bathe in the sweetness of its musicality and strive to produce the same like a French national. Any language is meant to be spoken however much one may insist on its written form. Most traditional approaches or language systems don’t work this way, and I think that’s where they let their students down.

Dr. Dipa Chakrabarti
Associate Professor of French and Head
Amity School of Languages
Amity University Jaipur

Amity School of Languages