Learning a new language is an important part of study abroad students. It is even more so if you’re going to a new country with a language alien to you. The need to be able to communicate with the locals right from the airport becomes the number one priority.
For those who have enough money, hiring a human translator to be with them all the time is one option. That option though has so many limitations. Another option is to use language apps on your smartphone.
One advantage of a language app over a human translator is that you can carry it with you anywhere.
There are several language apps out there. It can be difficult to pick the right one. Whether it is a paid app or not, more often than not, they promise the world and deliver far less.
The following apps are some of the best around. But it should be understood that they are no substitute for good language lessons in a formal classroom. Meeting and talking in real time with other people is the best way to really perfect your grasp of the new language.
In other words, these apps are basically foundational. They would help you in your initial steps towards mastering a new language.
This app is one of the most popular language learning app in the world. And it is not just because it is free.
It is fun to use, with language lessons broken down into small chunks which makes it feel like one is playing a game. The design is simple making it easy to use.
The lessons are divided into different sections linked to your everyday life. So there is a section for food, clothes, market, shopping and so on.
The audio is adaptable. You can slow it down if you are finding it difficult to understand or grasp words or phrases.
The app supports about 23 languages including French, English, Spanish, Russian, German, Swahili.
It is available for free for Android and iOS devices.
Babbel is another great foreign language learning app. The are two versions: the free version and the paid version. The free version though comes with enough features to get you started on a new language.
However, the various languages are designed as separate apps. So you have to download any language you wish to study. But that is not a problem since it is very likely you would want to learn only the language of your new place of study.
The lessons are broken down to make them short and easy to breeze through. The audio is great but the voice recognition software is a bit problematic. So you need to get pronunciations just right to move on.
Babbel supports 14 of the major languages in the world including English, Spanish, French, German Italian, Russian.
It is available for Android and iOS devices.
Busuu is a well-designed app that offers enough content to help you on your way to learning a new language. Its effectiveness is underlined by the fact that it has a user-base of about 60 million people. So many people can’t be wrong right?
Busuu provides simple flashcards. These are accompanied by grammar lessons, writing tests, dialogue and exercises to test your ability to pronounce words.
Like most good language learning app, it is fun to use and makes learning a new language less tedious.
Busuu supports all the major languages like Spanish, Japanese, Russian, English and Italian.
Available for Android and iOS devices, it comes in a free and paid version. The free version is good enough to learn the basics, but to access advance lessons and features, you would need to pay at most $10.
Memrise is primarily a language learning app that targets your vocabulary in the new language. It aims to increase the number of vocabulary one is familiar with.
It does this in a game format. This unique language-learning strategy involves taking you to an alien planet as a spy. Points are given for each correct answer while on the mission.
There are also images on cards to help you memorize words and the occasional native speakers appear to show you how to pronounce some words.
Memrise is a great way to build vocabulary in a foreign language. However, it is best to combine the lesson with actual conversations with people and grammar lessons.
The app comes in a free and paid version that cost about $10/month. However, the basic app would do just fine to build the basic vocabulary in the chosen language.
It has support for major languages like Spanish, English, French, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Italian.
Developed as a traveling app, it is almost perfect for study abroad students to learn basic words and phrases.
It functions simply by using dozens of pictures to illustrate words or phrases. The in-app audio speaks the words out loud to help with pronunciation. Your job is simply to repeat the words back to the app until you get it right.
However, moving on the next lesson does not require passing the current lesson. One can simply move along from beginning to the end. Or jump to any lesson you wish.
There is also a search feature with words or phrases related to things you might need to do every day.
Rosetta Stone is one of the best free language-learning apps you can find anywhere. However, if you want advanced learning courses, you would have to pay some money to download the lessons.
The app supports all the major languages of the world like English, French, German, Italian, Russian, Japanese, Arabic, Hebrew, and Dutch.