Learning a foreign language can be fun and offer up a ton of benefits; not only do you expand your knowledge base, enhance your cognitive abilities, prevent it from decline, and get introduced to a new culture but you could also advance professionally by being multilingual. The number of students taking foreign language courses to secure jobs as translators, international sales managers and educators is only increasing, and with good reason; the average translator makes a median of around USD 47,000 a year!
Even if you’re averse to travel, there are many organizations that seek bi/multilingual personnel to don the roles of social workers, journalists, travel agents, publishers, and bankers; you could even work for the government as a diplomat or communications manager! If you’re a businessperson, learning the local language will also help you expand more seamlessly in foreign territory or if you have to shift base to a new country for your work.
However, a lot of people shy away from learning new languages for various reasons such as being intimidated by a language, embarrassment, feeling timid or because courses can be expensive. And we get; it’s hard to learn new skills, especially as you grow older. Luckily, though, tons of websites offer fun, easy-to-follow courses that cater to a variety of learning preferences. Additionally, most of them are free! This lets you get a taste of the language before diving headfirst into it.
Here’s a round-up of our top 10 best online language courses that make learning a new language fun and simple!
Chinese for Beginners — Coursera
An obvious feature on any list of online courses, Coursera is the largest MOOC platform in the world, offering tons of courses in a variety of subjects. Their “Chinese for Beginners” course, offered by Peking University, teaches you basic conversational sentences and phrases of the most widely spoken language in the world, such as introducing yourself, talking about your likes and dislikes and even talking about hobbies.
Once you sign up, you can access course material indefinitely (as is the case with all Coursera courses) and the mix of readings, videos and quizzes ensure that you have fun while also learning efficiently.
Diploma in Japanese — Alison
Spoken by over 120 million worldwide, to say that Japanese is a popular language would be an understatement! Whether you want to travel to Japan or find employment in their booming global industries, the “Diploma in Japanese” offered by Advance Learning on Alison is a great start. The course introduces students to the basics of the language, including the Kanji and Hiragana letters, counting in Japanese, learning basic phrases and sentences, and important verb conjugations.
Students are also provided with vocabulary and pronunciation charts for reference and on successfully passing the 5 assessments (1 final) spread over the 20 modules, they can even opt to receive a certificate of completion.
AP Spanish Language and Culture — edX
A language that has millions of fans thanks to its seductive flow and popularity in the entertainment biz, Spanish is the 5th-most widely spoken language in the world, not only spoken in Spain itself but all of Latin America (Mexico and a major part of South America). This AP Spanish course is designed to help students take the AP Spanish exam, helping practice and gain more exposure to the language and the exam too. This includes interpreting written and audio texts, conversational and formal Spanish, writing essays and correspondence and learn about the culture.
The 12-week course is aimed at intermediate-level students and is offered by Boston University.
Learn Ancient Greek — Harvard University
A language that was reserved for the erudite, the scholars and the researchers, Ancient Greek is now available to the masses as well, thanks to courses like this one! The Center for Hellenic Studies, Harvard University, offers the “Learn Ancient Greek” course for self-directed enthusiasts; this course gives them a guided introduction to the language, led by Professor Leonard Muellner and Belisi Gillespie. There’s a playlist of videos available on YouTube, all of which correspond with text from “Greek: An Intensive Course” which can be purchased externally. If not, you’ll have to make do with previews of certain parts that are available on Google Books.
A fun, not-your-average-everyday-language course!
First Step Korean: Coursera
This course covers all the essentials of learning Korean as a language. Students are taught basic expressions of everyday life, such as greeting someone, introducing yourself and your family and talking about your likes and dislikes. Each of the lessons comprises vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, quizzes, dialogues and role-play.
On completing this self-paced course, students will be able to read and write the Korean alphabet, communicate in basic Korean and get acquainted with Korean culture.
Vivace: Intermediate Italian — Open University
This course is aimed at more serious learners; the 6-month course has some prerequisites, such as prior knowledge of the language. You’re required to understand what native speakers are saying (at least the gist) and be able to hold a conversation in basic Italian (generally revolving around everyday situations such as introducing yourself, your family, and so on) so that you can delve deeper into the Italian world!
Luckily, though, this knowledge need not have been acquired formally; the course accepts adult education classes, regular contact with Italian speakers and time spent in Italy as suitable sources of knowledge!
Introduction to Arabic — Alison
Speaking Arabic will let you connect with 26 countries and 420 million people in the world, most of them in politically and financially significant regions of the world! No wonder then, that Alison’s “Introduction to Arabic” has the number of takers it does! Published by Dalarna University, the course starts you off on your Arabic-learning journey, with clear, precise and easy-to-follow instructions all along the way.
Students will be introduced to reading, writing and conversing in basic Arabic, covering nouns, verbs, and everyday objects. The 2-module course can be completed at your own pace.
Preparing to Network in English: edX
Networking is one of the keys to growing your social contacts and professional connections. Not only does it improve your chances of getting a better job but it also makes a good impression on people you meet and interact with! This 4-week-course from edX, offered by the University of Washington, teaches you what networking is, who should be in your circle, introducing yourself as well as introducing someone else and making contacts and introducing yourself in a business environment.
Since the course is aimed at social networking and speaking well, it requires intermediate proficiency in English.
French for Beginners: Level 1 — Udemy
French — the language of love! This beautiful language has a lot of students who’ve fallen for the language due to its beautiful intonation and a treasure trove of culture and knowledge. The “French for Beginners: Level 1” course teaches you the basics of French and is ideal for those with little to no knowledge of the language. The video-based course contains over 2.5 hours of videos, quizzes, vocabulary sheets, and printable documents.
Students learn basics such as writing letters, counting in French, conjugating basics, guiding people and introducing themselves, to name a few. You get full lifetime access to the course material as well as a certificate of completion.
A1 English Course: Online Studies
This course focuses on more in-depth learning of English, covering topics such as making conversation, descriptions, talking about prices, food, and people, and use nouns, adverbs, adjectives and other tools of English grammar, to name a few. This part-time online course is offered by e-Careers, a language-teaching school in the UK. The course starts and ends on specified dates and does not have rolling admissions.
Final Thoughts For The Best Online Language Courses
Learning a new language need not always be intimidating; it can be exciting and fun, too, especially with courses like these that make the process of learning interesting and engaging. Additionally, most of them are free, which is the very delicious cherry on top of the already delicious cake! Also, using these online language courses you can learn the A, B, Cs of a new language sitting in the comfort of your home at your own pace.
Want to find some more Italian or Spanish language courses that could suit your needs? Read our articles on the best online Italian courses and the best online Spanish courses to see more courses for you.
Wait, there's more! If you’re not looking for structured courses, don’t worry! There are still tons of sites out there with unstructured learning patterns that can help you learn new languages. Bonne chance!