The world is getting smaller every day and the age where you could go your whole life without meeting someone who speaks another language is long past. We’re surrounded by arts, films and cultures from all over the world. All just asking to be experienced.
Not to mention, if you’re involved with international business or just like to travel, having an extra language or two under the belt can be a huge advantage. But who has the time or opportunity to learn a whole other language these days?
The answer may lie one click away behind the little blue Skype icon on your computer, tablet or smartphone.
Reach Out and Touch Me
Thanks to the spread of high-speed broadband internet across the world, it’s now possible to instantly and cheaply speak to almost anyone. Anywhere in the world, whenever you need to.
This has revolutionized the way we do business and how fast business conversations move. It’s also helped fuel the so-called “gig economy” where millions of people can now work remotely for employers all over the world.
It’s also presented a unique opportunity for those who want to learn a specific language to those who want to teach it. Skype is becoming the premier way to learn a language.
Why not just buy a self-study course with recorded dialogue? The same thing that people have been doing with tape-based language courses for many years now.
The answer is simple: we learn a language best by speaking it.
If you actually spend an hour a day conversing with a real speaker of the language you want to learn, you’ll make much faster progress than trying to do it without an interlocutor.
It works and it’s easy, but how exactly do you do it?
Before you do anything at all, you have to make sure that you have the following available:
- Working Skype account
- Fast broadband internet
- High-quality webcam
- A good microphone
Without this in place you won’t get the most out of the experience.
Find a Provider
Next you have to get on Google and find a provider that helps you meet and hire tutors over Skype who can help you learn the language of your choice.
Personally I like Preply.com which I ran across when trying to find Japanese tutors online.
Pick a Tutor
Usually the service of your choice will let you browse through a list of available tutors. Have a careful look at their ratings or reviews. You should also try to pick someone who is in a timezone identical to yours or not too different from it.
Also take note of how much a given tutor charges per hour!
Send the Request
Send a request to the tutor of your choice. It may also be a good idea to send requests to your second and third choices as well if you want to speed up the process.
Book and Pay
If you get a confirmation from one of your top choices, book and pay ASAP before someone else nabs them. Make sure to honor the appointment.
Once you’ve completed the first session, be sure to give an appropriate review. If you really like the experience with a particular tutor, it’s also a good time to discuss a more regular schedule.
If it turns out this tutor was not for you, repeat the process with someone else who looks promising.
There are a lot of reasons it’s a good idea to speak more than one language, but the most important one is that it lets you grow as a person and reveals a whole new world to you that was almost completely invisible before. Language is the lens through which we understand the world and having only one lens is sort of boring, don’t you think?