I’ve been to several countries where English is not the native language. And what I’ve found is that I come back from my trip not really feeling like I got a chance to talk with locals. The language barrier makes communication difficult sometimes. But it doesn’t have to be this way; there are ways to learn a new language without even leaving your living room!
Language Learning Options
Usually what comes to mind when talking about learning a new language is Rosetta Stone, Duolingo, or Babbel. What I noticed from using some of these services was that it mainly helped me to recognize and read the language; and not exactly speak it. I couldn’t get corrected by the app when I made a grammatical error or help with pronunciation.
So I began to look for a program where I would be forced to speak with someone face-to-face. At first I became discouraged, the immersion programs in my city cost hundreds of dollars for a handful of lessons lasting only a couple weeks. Then I tried seeking out private lessons; also in my city; and got the same result $50+ and hour for most teachers. I didn’t have the means for that and couldn’t go live in a Spanish speaking country either. Then one day I discovered the site Verbling; I was so excited. Here was an affordable option that gave me the face-to-face time I was looking for.
What is Verbling and how do I use it?
So what exactly is verbling and how is it different than the apps I mentioned above? Verbling is an online language learning platform that pairs individuals with language teachers via video chat. (wiki) Language teachers range from Spanish to Korean to Latvian!
On this site you are able to search the language you desire to learn, select a teacher, take a demo class, and begin lessons. Each teacher has their own style of teaching; demo classes are a great way to see if a specific teacher is for you. Be looking for someone that you can understand in your native language, ask about their method of teaching, and make sure to tell them what your goals are for learning a new language. And most importantly check the teachers schedule to guarantee they are available during the time you’re looking to take classes.
Classes are 1 hour long, you receive a 24 hour and 30 min notice for your scheduled class. The class will open right at the scheduled time, and open right one the website; where you will be face-to-face with your instructor through webcam. There is a workspace for loading documents and homework, a chat section to write out words/sentences, and even screen sharing capabilities.
Can I afford this?
Yes! Verbling is free to signup and prices are set by teachers themselves; they range from $5-$50+ an hour depending on the country, teacher, and level. But the majority of teachers charge between $11-$22/hour. Compared to the immersion courses I saw it was the best deal. I personally pay $13/hour for my lessons with Martina, she is from Spain and speaks English, French, Catalan and of course Spanish! I personally chose her because I am looking to spend sometime in the country and would like to learn from a native.
Successful Language Learning
Can I actually be fluent in another language using verbling? Absolutely but it's a combined effort from both the teacher and student. Through trial and error I’ve learned a few things that have helped me progress in my Spanish:
Take notes during class; don’t think you will remember everything the teacher says after the fact.
Ask questions when you do not understand, don’t be embarrassed or afraid when you don’t get something right away.
Have realistic expectations - most likely you will not be fluent in a month; it will take time to understand the basics, then get comfortable speaking the language, and taking time to study.
Find ways to speak and write in the language you are learning. This is the best form of studying. Sites like Meetup.com have groups dedicated to language exchange and apps like HelloTalk allow you to write to native speaks and have your grammar and spelling corrected in real time. [List of resources posted below]
Watch TV or listen to podcasts in the language you are learning.
Plan a trip to a country that speaks the language and practice every chance you get.
Supplement Language Apps & Resources:
Duolingo - Learning with Duolingo is fun and addictive. Earn points for correct answers, race against the clock, and level up. Our bite-sized lessons are effective, and we have proof that it works.
HelloTalk - Learn a language by chatting with native speakers around the world.
HiNative - HiNative is a global Q&A platform for language learners. Ask and answer questions about language and culture with native speakers around the world.
Verling Teacher Recommendation
These are teachers I’ve taken lessons from and would highly recommend them!
Martina Perez - Verbling Profile
Axel Leon - Verbling Profile
Take the leap and sign up to take a demo class for a language you are interested in. If you are headed on a trip and want to know the basics; select an instructor that can help you meet that goal. Or if you are considering moving abroad and would like to get to a higher level of speaking before leaving there are teachers that help you with that as well! Sign up with my referral link to receive $30 when you purchase 10 classes: https://www.verbling.com/si/yeri2