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The Best Apps for Learning a New Language

Learning a new language can be difficult, and it requires a lot of practice — and patience. Luckily there are some apps out there that can help you.

It’s always a little disheartening to go on vacation and be unable to speak the native language. Besides the obvious practicality of being able to ask for directions or understanding what exactly is in what you’re ordering, you also feel like you’re missing out on some of the experience of traveling. Can you truly experience the streets of Rome if you don’t speak Italian, or sip a coffee in a Parisian cafe without speaking French?

Learning a new language is a difficult challenge — and it gets harder as we get older — but it isn’t impossible. All it takes is practice, practice, and more practice. What better way to practice than with your phone? If you have a few minutes during a morning commute or need to kill some time between activities, why not use that time to your advantage? Below are some apps to help you learn a new language.

Read More: Tips on Charging Your Phone When Traveling Internationally

Rosetta Stone
Rosetta Stone is the company perhaps best associated with learning another language, and their app is just as strong as their name would suggest. Their audio and literature component will help you get the sense of a foreign language by seeing how words are used and how they sound, and their TruAccent feature helps perfect your accent — usually a dead giveaway that you don’t truly know the language.

Babbel is the perfect choice for the on-the-go learner. Their lessons take about 10-15 minutes, which means you can sneak in a lesson during a lunch break or while waiting for a friend. Babbel offers frequent reviews of old lessons as well, which is important for retention — we’ve all crammed for a test right before and then realized a month later we don’t actually remember anything we “learned,” and Babel’s frequent reviews are a great way to combat that sensation.

Tandem is a little different than the other two apps mentioned. Instead of taking you through curated lessons, the app matches you with native speakers of the language you want to learn, and you get to chatting. They’re tasked with teaching you their language, and you’re tasked with teaching them English. Be warned: Working with a native speaker is hands down the way to best learn a language, but it may not be the easiest way to learn a language. Maybe start with one of the suggestions above first before moving on to this option. Or, just take the plunge! Unlike both Babbel and Rosetta Stone, Tandem is totally free, so it can’t hurt to try.