Learning German from home may seem like mission impossible, but it’s not as hard as you think. A huge amount of language learning happens with you sitting in a chair anyway. Why can’t you be sitting on your couch or at your own kitchen table? The short answer is, you can, and with free online resources at your disposal, there’s really no reason you can’t learn German from home. Here’s how to get started.
1. Work your way through a few lessons
When you’re first starting to learn German, it’s a good idea to have a guide, and there are lots of free options. Whether you like flashcard apps or a more narrative approach like The German Project, you can start learning German from home without spending a cent. Whichever platform you choose to work with, try to spend time on it every day. That’s how your memory works best.
2. Listen to German radio and podcasts
Once you’ve got some basic German grammar and vocabulary under your belt, it’s time to immerse yourself in the language. There are podcasts specifically for German students and many more for German speakers. You can approach German listening activities in two ways. The easiest is to switch on any old German radio station and let it become the soundtrack to your life. You don’t need to understand what they’re saying. Your goal is to soak up the rhythms of the language. The other approach is to pick something you can 90% understand and work on picking up that extra 10%.
3. Watch German TV shows
Like the radio, TV is a great way to immerse yourself in the German language. You can take a more academic approach, watching with pen in hand for new vocabulary and expressions (German subtitles are your friend), or you can use German TV to unwind after a long day without worrying about understanding everything. Here are a few good German shows on Netflix to get you started.
4. Meet German speakers
Online language exchange is booming. Download an app like Speaky or Busuu, or find a forum where you can text-chat with Germans. If you have a little spare cash on hand, you might even hire yourself an online German tutor. It’s easy to find someone who works on Skype and hourly rates can be quite reasonable.
5. Plan a virtual trip to Germany
You may not be able to fly at the moment, but nothing’s stopping you from taking a virtual trip to Berlin. Lots of museums have their entire collection on Google’s Arts and Culture platform and you can stream concerts from the Berlin Philharmonic’s Digital concert hall. You can use your virtual trip as a reward for all the hard work you’ve done learning German, or switch to the German-language versions of websites and use them to plan your trip. There are so many virtual travel options out there, it’s time to pour yourself a beer, fry up a sausage, and couch surf your way to Germany.
If it’s your dream to speak German, there’s really no reason not to use your free time to learn German from home. Ich drück’ dir die Daumen!