How would you spend $20,000 to learn a language?
This is a 100% hypothetical scenario if I had $20,000 free and clear and no other obligations. Right now, I’m learning Finnish and am currently halfway from A2 to B1. I thought long and hard about how I would structure my life if I had all the time and resources to approach language learning. This could become a possible life scenario in the near future, but I am currently restricted by work and student loans.
Originally, I thought about traveling to Finland or another target language country, but the logistics are more complicated abroad. There’s nothing quite as good as a dedicated online language lesson. If I’m in a group of 3 or more people in real-life, I’m not going to do as much talking as I would in a 1 on 1 conversation. An online Finnish tutor is prepared to extract the Finnish out of me, while a random stranger in Finland may not know how to react to my A2-level Finnish. I’m conversational, but also probably mentally taxing to listen to. So I would continue online conversational practice to simplify logistics. No immigration, flights, or hotels. No Finland just yet.
I’m not doing any formal courses, no matter how good of a reputation they have. A language course can only move as fast as the slowest student. When you break into conversation, you will become frustrated when the other students still can’t introduce themselves. Or when other students interrupt the flow of the class with grammar questions that could have been asked privately afterwards. I’m sticking with private 1 on 1 online lessons, which have always worked really well for me.
Now I’m looking for a cheap monthly rental that’s at least walking distance from a grocery store. This whole time, I’m not meeting any English speaking friends, so I can’t be in a familiar city. I want the benefit of pure Finnish immersion. I will only speak English to say “have a good one” to the cashier at the grocery store. For Finnish conversational lessons, it’s best to be in the most favorable time zone possible. In the U.S, that’s Eastern Standard Time. High speed internet is everything. I can’t have roommates since I’m going to be doing language lessons all day. I could easily get a studio for $1,200 / month in Philadelphia. That would give me walkability…