Learning a Foreign Language while Travelling

The ability to speak a foreign language can come in very handy in many different contexts. The skill is especially valuable for regular international travellers. But frequent travelling can also make it difficult to find time to attend classes and practice regularly.

Learning any foreign language requires commitment, regular practice and time… a luxury not possessed by many frequent flyers. So, what’s the best way to learn a foreign language while constantly on the go?

I was wondering to learn a new language (Preferably Japanese), and want to know a good source to learn this. My work makes me travel mostly 2-3 weeks every month, so attending classes seems out of the question.
Have any of you been able to do this keeping up with your travel routine?

As a community of frequent flyers, our members are well-placed to answer this question.

There are a number of online tools for those that would like to attend classes but don’t have time to attend one in person each week. One such option is “italki”, a website that matches students with teachers for private lessons over the internet.

Frequent travellers may benefit from CDs or podcasts that can be listened to on the go. As well as being a good way to pass the time on planes or a daily commute, they can be a beneficial way to learn key listening and speaking skills.

A friend of mine, a courier driver, learnt Italian via a CD (it did come with a book too). He figured that if he was driving around all day he might as well learn something as he goes along.

Duolingo offers free language courses on its website. It also offers a downloadable App that can be used to complete the course on. A wide range of different languages are offered, though unfortunately Japanese is not currently one of those. Duolingo uses a somewhat unconventional teaching style that encourages users to teach themselves, rather than giving structured lessons. Though trial and error, and the repetition of important words and concepts over a period of time, it can be a useful way to learn the basics of any language. It also combines a mixture of reading, writing, listening and speaking to help students develop skills in all areas – not just listening and speaking.

Duolingo is another good option, either through the website, or there’s an app (I use iPad/iPhone, not sure about other OSs). I have also found that the app can often be used when not connected to the Internet, it seems to download and store some of the lessons.

Share your language-learning strategies and experiences HERE.


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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]