3 Reasons a pandemic is the best time to learn a language
We’re all getting tired of the pandemic and the social distancing, quarantine, and curfews that it brought along with it.
But unfortunately, some things are simply out of our control. (It’s like that cliché French expression goes, “c’est la vie”.)
Remember that even though most of us are unable to travel, explore, and live our ‘best lives’ — this situation won’t last forever. So if you’re reading this article and feeling distressed, like your life is somehow on hold because of all the restrictions and limitations — first, take a deep breath. You might not have control of your external world (and to be honest, you never really did anyway) — but you can control your own concrete actions, your mindset, and make the important moves to being the person you want to become.
If learning French has been on your agenda for a while but you’ve been putting it off — now’s your chance to stop procrastinating into oblivion and grab your goal by the balls. Because there’s no better time to learn a language than during a pandemic.
So without further ado, here are 3 reasons why a pandemic is the best time to learn a language. Seriously.
Reason #1: You’re more in control of your time than ever before. This is probably the most obvious, no-brainer reason. The time you used to spend commuting to work, waiting for your daily coffee order, and going to social gatherings have obviously been minimised. And it sucks. No denying that.
We’re in the second year of the pandemic, and chances are you’ve established a new routine that’s (hopefully) been pretty effective for you. If you’ve spared even just 20-minutes working from home than your usual commute — you have the opportunity to repurpose it intentionally.
It doesn’t need to be an epic 2-hour study session every day. But you can use those precious minutes you have available to build a French routine (whatever that looks like for you).
Reason #2: There have never been more options to learn. More people are learning a language than ever before. The world has turned online, and innovation has accelerated because of it. Language learning apps (hello Babbel, MemRise and Busuu), online conversation clubs, free YouTube Channels and podcasts (like Le Français avec Yasmine)… businesses and content creators are listening to the demand for language learning material. As a result, the market is growing.
If you’re sitting there thinking, “But I won’t be able to practice my French with people in real life and I don’t like online courses…” you’re just making excuses for yourself. Sure, no online course will fully prepare you for real-life face-to-face interaction at the brocant, but having an audio or video lesson is pretty damn good preparation.
Reason #3: You can travel without travelling: Visiting foreign places used to be as easy as buying a spontaneous flash seat sale, packing a suitcase and jet setting off. Now travel is subject to medical tests, border restrictions, and limited flight options.
It’s no longer carefree nor realistic for many. As a substitute, many people are learning a language as a way to be in contact with another culture or country that now feels somewhat forbidden or inaccessible.
And learning a language opens up a whole new world to art, culture, history and foreign affairs. Whatever your jam is, your language-learning adventure can be filled with stimulating, exciting, and entertaining substance. All while advancing your target language and giving you the necessary cultural foundation for fluency.
Sure, it’s not the same travelling experience as exploring a hidden sidestreet in Montreal or going to a pub in Brussels, but you’ve got more time to explore the culture and nuance of the language. So when you do go visit in the flesh it’ll be all the more satisfying.
Okay, okay, this sounds great. But let’s talk about one of the biggest factors that all language learners face, and are more likely to face when being home nearly 24/7 in 2021 — motivation.
When motivation is low, remind yourself of your reason why. Why are you learning French? Sure there’s the overarching high-level goal of being able to speak another language, but break this down even further. You can think about short term goals or consider practical reasons that feel pressing and personally important to you. Is it to speak to your in-laws? Your co-workers? Prepare for an exam? Read your favourite novel or understand a TV show?
When the going gets tough, when concepts get hard or the laziness and distractions kicks in — remind yourself of why you started in the first place.
Perhaps one of the most exciting ‘reasons why’ (at least, in my opinion) is when the world reopens again and you can travel. When things are back to ‘normal’ and you can finally book that trip to France or go to that wedding and have authentic experiences that will be more enhanced by meaningful interactions with locals. So when that happens — will you have French under your belt? Or will you stay stuck at the same level?
I know which option sounds better.