Speaking a foreign language is essential. Get started now.

The ability to speak a foreign language is invaluable in today’s society and almost necessary in today’s job market. Many employers insist on bilingual applicants, especially in areas like South Florida where Spanish speakers seem to outnumber English speakers in many neighborhoods. So, what are the best ways to learn a new language?
This is a university. So, the first thing to do is sign up for a class. NSU offers of a variety of language classes, such as Chinese, French and Spanish. Choose your language and get started right away. The sooner you start, the closer to fluent you’ll be by the time you graduate.
Whether you take a class or not, communicating with native speakers is a valuable tool. And nothing beats immersion. If you truly want to be fluent in a language, you have to go where it is spoken. Find a cheap plane ticket during off season and just go. You will learn quickly because you’ll have no choice. Even if you only want to say: “Dónde está el baño?” Take a month off over the summer and find a place that hires Americans to teach English. Check out TEFLinstitute.com to help you get started. In some instances, you can make money, get a free place to stay and learn their language while you teach them yours.
If you can’t afford a plane ticket or find a job overseas, this is South Florida, go spend a month in Hialeah or Little Havana. Take advantage of our local culture and before you know it, you’ll be a Spanish speaker.
Another option is to get a tutor like Julia Roberts’s character in “Eat, Pray, Love.” A hot Italian guy sitting across the table is inspiration enough to learn any language.
CDs can be helpful, too — more than reading a book. It is important to hear native speakers pronounce the words or you will create your own crazy pronunciations that no one will understand. Just make sure you stick with it. Since you won’t receive or grade or need to eat, you’ll have to keep yourself motivated.
One of the most popular – or at least most hyped about – language learning tools is Rosetta Stone. The software project creators promise you’ll learn a new language in no time, the way you learned English as a child. But at $749 (some are on sale right now for $399) for a complete set of one language, it isn’t very affordable. And if it truly works, I may never know. I’d rather buy the plane ticket and get a vacation out of it.

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