All you need is…

… on the world wide web!

I was preparing to spend a year in Japan on the JET Programme. I tried to learn the language from a book. But I knew very little about Japan or the Japanese. I’d read ‘Shogun’ and that was the extent of my knowledge of the country. In pre-Celtic Tiger days there were very few foreigners living in Dublin, so I had never met or spoken to a Japanese person.

Learning is much easier when you can find what you need on the internet. To learn Spanish I’ve been following an audio course, but grammar and vocabulary can be dull, let’s face it! So I asked for music recommendations on the web and was offered suggestions with links that lead to other links. I spent hours on youtube discovering Spanish and South American bands. Amaral’s ‘Como hablár‘ was a happy discovery.

The next phase may be to watch Spanish films, I’ll purchase the DVD from the comfort of my sitting room. Then I may try to participate on a forum, and look for recommendations on where to stay this summer. Speaking to real people will be the final phase. There are many Spanish people looking for language-exchange via skype.

The danger though is getting lost on the internet. It’s easy to look up one thing and find yourself clicking hither and yonder and soon you realise it’s four o’clock in the morning and you still haven’t checked the weather forecast. That’s the real challenge these days – staying focused when there’s so much information out there.

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