Visiting a new country where English isn’t the first language can be quite daunting. Although Google Translate and other translation apps are quite handy, there’s still nothing like being able to understand essential words and phrases on your own to make your trip more convenient. And apart from that, it’s always great to impress the locals with how you actually took time to learn their language.
There are many different ways you can learn a new language—from taking classes and watching YouTube tutorials, to binge-watching foreign language films and series as well as downloading language learning apps right in your phone.
After all, wouldn’t it be nice to understand a few words when you watch Money Heist or your fave K-Drama? For whatever reason, learning a new language is always a fun, productive pastime. So we compiled a list of language learning apps that can help you prep for your next trip abroad (or next trip down Netflix’s foreign film and series section)! Here are a few of our faves:
It features fun, bite-sized lessons that are tailored to your skill level and learning style. Improve your speaking, listening, and writing skills through fun and easy “gamified” activities. Duolingo also has a rewards system to keep you motivated where you can earn virtual coins and unlock new levels. According to their website, “a study has shown that 34 hours of using Duolingo is equal to one university semester of language courses.
With over 8.9 million downloads on Google Play Store, and a 4.7-star rating on the Apple App Store as of writing, Duolingo is an app you should definitely have on your phone if you want to learn a new language. If you prefer to learn over the computer, you don’t have to download their app as you can take the same courses online via their website!
Languages you can learn: Spanish, French, German, Chinese, English, Japanese, Korean, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Irish, Danish, Swedish, Turkish, Esperanto, Norwegian, Ukrainian, Hawaiian, Russian, Polish, Hindi, Welsh, Hebrew, Vietnamese, Hungarian, Greek, Swahili, Swedish, Romanian, Indonesian, Czech, Navajo, Klingon, High Valyrian
This language learning app gives users personalized study plans and a clean, less “gamified” app interface, but that doesn’t make it any less fun! What makes Busuu unique is that you are able to converse and chat with real people in real-time in order to practice your vocabulary. The app also offers gems and other rewards as your skillsets move up.
Languages you can learn: Spanish, English, German, French, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Polish, Chinese, Russian or Turkish.
Drops makes you travel-ready with their feature called “Travel Talk,” which can teach you over 200 travel-related words and phrases that will help you get around, talk to locals, and shop and bargain and so much more. The unique thing about Drops is that it limits your learning time to 5 minutes a day, focusing more on building habit than bombarding you with loads of lessons and activities.
Languages you can learn: American English / British English, Arabic, Spanish / Latin-American Spanish, Danish, Dutch, Esperanto, European Portuguese / Brazilian Portuguese, French, Finnish, German, Greek, Hawaiian, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Maori, Mandarin Chinese / Cantonese, Norwegian, Polish, Russian, Swedish, Samoan, Tagalog (Filipino), Thai, Turkish, Vietnamese
Memrise allows you to be able to watch locals talk in their native language right in the destinations you wish to visit through video clips integrated into the lessons! Every activity and lesson gets you “face to face” with a local, somehow simulating a possible conversation or scenario you could have once you visit that country, so you can easily learn and pick up useful travel phrases.
Languages you can learn: Spanish, French, Japanese, German, Korean, Italian, Russian, Chinese, Portuguese, Arabic, Norwegian, Dutch, Swedish, Polish, Turkish, Danish.
LingoDeer’s specialty is teaching its users Japanese, Korean, and Chinese, with a very thorough introduction and in-depth learning of these alphabet systems. It features 2,000 of the most frequently used words and phrases in courses like JLPT N4-5, TOPIK 1-3, and HSK 1-4. It also has built-in flashcards that can really help you study! LingoDeer is for those who wish to study a new language on an advanced level.
Languages you can learn: Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Spanish, French, German, Vietnamese, Portuguese, Russian
Which language have you always wanted to learn? Share your thoughts with us!
*Featured image via Daxiao Productions on Shutterstock