Home Advice Cabin Fever Reliever Challenge: Language Learning Edition

Cabin Fever Reliever Challenge: Language Learning Edition

by Calli Zarpas
Challenge yourself with new languages to relieve cabin fever

As I write this I’m sitting on the couch looking out my window in Rouen, France, a mid-size town an hour and half north of Paris. I’ve been here for the last two years as a high school English teaching assistant. Since I’ve been here I’ve spent mornings drinking café en terrace, afternoons standing in front of my high school students, and nights eating pizza and drinking cold glasses of red wine with my friends outside our favorite bar every Thursday.

But for the past week I’ve been drinking my café en confinement, sending my highschoolers assignments through email, and having a virtual happy hour with my friends because as Europe became the epicenter of COVID-19, France locked down its usual laissez-faire lifestyle. Now, every time I go outside I need a document stating where I’m going if I don’t want to risk a 135€ fine. So as the world slows down, people are staying inside more than ever to keep themselves and others safe.

As a teacher, I’m hardly working anymore and I’m not sure where my career is heading once my contract ends in April. So if, like me, you’ve found yourself with a little more time on your hands now that you’re not commuting to work, or changing out of your pajamas in the morning, or driving your kids to sports practice, this is the perfect time to work on personal goals. I’m hoping this challenge will help me learn skills that will guide me to my next steps. 

I really want to get my Greek language skills up, so I’ve been doing three Greek lessons a day with Rosetta Stone instead of just one. But there are so many other ways to improve language skills than just formal lessons, so here is the “Cabin Fever Reliever Challenge,” a bucket list that will help you learn a new language without leaving your couch.

  1. Watch a foreign-language film or rewatch a movie you know dubbed into another language.
  2. Go on a virtual tour of a museum in a country where you want to learn the language and see how many new words you can learn.
  3. Read a story in another language. Try one you’ve already read in English or find some short stories curated for your learning level in the Rosetta Stone app. 
  4. Call or send a text to someone you know who speaks another language and ask them to teach you a word or two.
  5. Try Rosetta Stone’s private or group coaching.
  6. While hanging out with friends or family online try teaching them a new word or play a game in another language.
  7. Learn a tongue twister in a foreign language. What’s the hardest one you can find? 
  8. Cook a recipe from another country. (Bonus points if you find the recipe in another language and translate it!)
  9. Create a playlist with foreign music. Find some to take with you on a run, keep you entertained while you work, or maybe even to have your own dance party.
  10. Participate in a new tradition. Try finding a foreign holiday and celebrating a little piece of it wherever you are.
  11. Change the language on your electronics and play around with it. Just make sure you know how to change it back if you ever get lost!
  12. Follow accounts on social media from other countries. You can follow news outlets, photographers, and chefs from around the world.
  13. Write your grocery list in another language and then go to the store and try to remember what it is you wrote down.
  14. Go on a scavenger hunt while learning new words with Rosetta Stone’s “Seek & Speak” (found in the Extended Learning section of the iPhone app).
  15. Find the top 10 words used in the language you want to learn, or the 10 weirdest words in that language, or even romantic pet names and make a mood board with them.
List of things to do in a different language

I’m really excited about this challenge, and Rosetta Stone will be posting my blog posts and sharing my Instagram Stories as I complete some of these challenges. I hope you all are able to do some with me, and feel free to reach out if you have any suggestions or want to share your own updates. You can find us @rosettastone. Hopefully à bientôt !

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