Learn a language during your breaks at work

Today we have a guest blog by Cris from Chile. You can find out how to contact Cris at the end of this article, and I would recommend that you check out Linguablog for useful tips on language learning. Thank you Cris for these tips and links.

Learn a language during your breaks at work

Hello! My name is Cristóbal (Cris) and I am from Santiago, Chile. Currently, I work fulltime at a museum, but after work, I dedicate myself to languages. I learn Polish with a teacher, I learn Hungarian on my own, I started tutoring in Spanish as a foreign language and I have my own language blog called Linguablog.org. Sure, it might seem crazy at times to know where to focus, but I have managed to keep myself organized.

Plenty of times, I find myself procrastinating at work not because I put things off for the last minute and so, but sometimes, work colleagues have their own times and I have to respect that. Sure, reading interesting articles and so may help you fight procrastination, but what if I tell you that you can actually do something highly productive for yourself and your future in that time? Why not learn a language during your dead times and/or lunch break at work?

This is something I have done for the past 2 years and it has been quite helpful in many ways: it helps you relax and distract yourself from work-related issues; it does not make you feel like you are negatively procrastinating at work and… you are actually being somehow productive, indirectly! Maybe that new language may help you land a new job or a better position in your current one, who knows!

Many of these steps depend highly on your learning style or your actual level in the language (for example, if you started learning English in school, but for a long time, you haven’t used it in any situation, maybe you’ll just need to refresh your memory and so), so take that into consideration before deciding what to do. Also, it is highly important to spice up your learning! That means using different methods, sources and ways to learn, in order to make your learning more efficient, fun and less of a rut. There will be days you will feel tired and doing simple grammar or vocabulary exercises will probably make you feel worse, so probably informal learning would come in handy for these situations.

After all of this, let’s check some suggestions I have used during my language learning during dead times at work 

  • Instead of reading news articles in your native language, why not read them in your target language? If you like, for example, movies, have you tried looking for news sites about movies in your target language? I am quite sure there are plenty of them and that could be a nice way to learn new vocabulary or grammar structures in context. You can use Readlang as a nice way to work with your vocabulary.
  • Do you like to work with music or radio? Try working with music or radio stations from your target language. There are plenty of places where you can find radios or songs that best suit your interests and needs. Personally, I have found nice radios to listen to at work on Tunein (you can find stations listed by location, genre and language). I also keep Shazam open on my mobile if there is a song I really like, so I can add it to my commute playlist.
  • Interact with native speakers! The Internet now has plenty of sites where you can meet native speakers (or highly competent learners) of your target language willing to help you practice your target language in a more informal setting. These sites even allow you to exchange voice messages or get nice feedback on your written messages with corrections. I do like practicing languages and helping others with it as I don’t have to depend on someone else’s schedule to talk or so. You can even exchange voice messages on your daily commute or on your lunch break while your language partner is ready to go to bed. You can use sites/apps like Speaky, HelloTalk, Tandem or even special Facebook groups that cater to language exchange.
    There are plenty of sites that offer free exercises as well according to your needs or you can try certain apps that can give you more exercises like Memrise or Duolingo. That could be very useful for those who only have very limited time during their breaks and it can be used as a really good way to relax or distract from any tough moment at work.

If you want to contact me for further suggestions or new ways to learn a language during work breaks, you can contact me via Facebook, Twitter or my blog.

What do you normally use to learn a language during spare time at work? Do you use other methods or do you like any of the ones mentioned above? You can share your experiences in the comments below.

2 Comments on “Learn a language during your breaks at work”

  1. natalia h says:

    Excellent article, Cris! :)

    I use lunch breaks to practice Korean. I’m at the very early stages of it, learning sounds and letters, so I need to put time on it, and lunch breaks of that hour the boss is out are super useful to get some practicing done. Once I can actually speak a little, I’ll use the websites you recommended, listening to radio shows sounds like a fantastic way to train your ear for a different language.

  2. I’ve used the TuneIn app as well and I can definitely recommend it.

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