I’m sure every language-addicted person has dreamed about traveling around the world and learning every language he or she desires to speak. Living in the country where the target language is spoken is of great advantage to a language learner. Unfortunately, not everyone has the opportunity to live abroad, so what can they do? Actually, the solution is easier than many of us would think.
You don’t need to be rich to solve this problem, and although it’s not a 100% solution, you’ll be able to have at least weekly contact with a native speaker of your target language. I think everyone of our generation is familiar with Skype. In fact, I would guess that most of us use it for chatting with friends, family, etc. I discovered its usefulness for language learning about 2 years ago when I started studying Italian.
I decided to learn Italian after I got a new job 3 years ago. My company deals with various European partners, such as Germans, Austrians, and Italians. Since I already spoke German and English when they hired me, I never had a problem doing business with any of these partners. In my opinion though, you have a different experience with your customers if you speak in their native language, so I decided to learn Italian!
Many years ago during my university studies, I saw a video on YouTube about a crazy Italian guy who spoke 8 languages fluently. At that moment, I said to my roommate, “Want to bet that I’ll be able to speak 6 languages before I turn 30?” Of course, he said, “Ok!” The “crazy” guy I saw on YouTube was Luca Lampariello.
I contacted him, and we chatted a lot about language learning, about his method and his language story. After a while, he took me on as a student, and we started having classes via Skype.
What really impressed me is the way he thinks and talks about languages. His passion is incredible, and it was clear that he dedicated his life to language learning. He uses his own method, which actually sounds quite simple:
According to him, you’ve got to work on a daily basis, even if just for 10 minutes. You might be asking yourself—when does grammar come into play? Grammar is not fundamental in the beginning! You’ve got to catch the melody of the language, build vocabulary and try to understand sentences even if you don’t understand every single word.
We started studying together in 2010, and after 2 years, I reached the CILS B2 level, which I think is fairly good, considering that I have a full-time job which takes most of my time and energy. I also think it’s important to “schedule” your life more precisely, not just your daily studies. For example, when I decided to learn Italian, I did not only study it through Skype, but also, when I went on vacation, I always went to Italy or the part of Switzerland where Italian is spoken.
The same continues in my Croatian studies. First, I found a native teacher who gives lessons via Skype, and afterwards, I used every opportunity to visit him in person and take classes in person. I’m sure the next summer vacation will be in Croatia : D.
My goal is to learn at least one more language; I have not yet decided which one. French? Spanish? Russian? Who knows? Either way, I am pretty sure that Luca or other guys will be able to help me learn it because these people don’t teach—they just show you the way you’ve got to follow!