Take Advantage of Foreign Service Courses to Learn a New Language for Free

There is no shortage of apps and online courses offering the best way to learn a new language. If you want to brush up on your high school Spanish or start over, you can turn to Duolingo (which is accused of stealing user data) or a paid option like Rosetta Stone or Coursera, but there is another time-tested completely free option. alternative: you can learn a new language as a US foreign diplomat.

The Foreign Service Institute (FSI), which prepares professionals to work overseas in the service of the US government, is renowned for excellent foreign language teaching and you can access its course materials and detailed audio instructions for free.

How to take language courses from the Institute of Foreign Service

Unfortunately, you cannot call FSI and ask someone to mail you the entire curriculum of Yoruba or Hebrew courses, but you can find both languages ​​- in addition to many, many others – on the Live Lingua language learning site. … FSIs were previously available elsewhere on the Internet (we even wrote about them over a decade ago ), but this site is no longer available.

Although Live Lingua is primarily an online Spanish tutor, this website hosts most of the FSI’s official curriculum for 40 languages, including audio tutorials and downloadable PDFs. In all FSI offerings you will find 127 classes, 161 e-books and 4169 audio lessons.

The curriculum has proven to be effective; it is designed to prepare people for life and work in countries where they have important responsibilities, despite their limited understanding of their mother tongue. You have to be somewhat self-sufficient and dedicated to learning using only audio and PDFs (although, unsurprisingly, Live Lingua does offer online training for a fee). The material you will be referring to is quite old – several decades or more, which is far from ideal if you prefer your lessons to be based in a more modern context, but the basics of the language have definitely not changed since then. Let’s say the 80s, so the materials will still be quite effective. And don’t worry about misusing government resources or bumping into something exclusively for officials, as all FSI material posted on Live Lingua is in the public domain (as are other free language learning resources on the site from Peace Corps and Defense Language Institute).

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