The world is full of stories of people who learned a second language by watching TV, listening to podcasts and playing video games. Take Israeli sisters Shoham and Reut Nistel as examples. In a story documented by CNN, the sisters learned fluent Spanish by watching an Argentine telenovela with Hebrew subtitles.
In another case published on the New York Times, Venezuelan Major League Baseball player Freddy Galvis learned English by watching Friends and reading its subtitles. The newspaper never revealed whether Galvis used a VPN to access American shows.
However, a VPN is one of the most effective tools for finding content to help you learn a new language. Here’s why.
#1: Unblocking TV Shows
As mentioned above, you can learn a foreign language by watching TV shows. Sisters Shoham and Reut learned Spanish so well that they would use it to talk about things they didn’t want their parents to understand. You too can learn a new language by watching TV series, documentaries and YouTube Videos.
But what if you can access French or Spanish TV shows? Use a VPN. What is a VPN? It stands for Virtual Private Network—a tool that hides your computer’s IP address to give you anonymity while browsing the web. This service uses servers located in different cities and countries.
As such, you can select a server located in a country that speaks the language you want to watch and access the nation’s local TV shows and movies. Of course, you need series and video clips with subtitles to understand what’s said in the films.
To speed up the learning process, find TV shows with subtitles of the new and your native language. For example, a French series should have French and English subtitles. Another tip is to use an app translator. That way, it’s easy to understand the meaning of every word spoken on the films.
#2: Accessing Foreign Websites and Apps
In many countries, you don’t have to use a VPN to find blogs, language translator sites and books written in a language you want to learn. However, some countries like China have a government-enforced firewall that makes it difficult to find information published in foreign languages.
A VPN can help you beat these firewalls and other geo-fencing measures by hiding your IP address. It also encrypts your data to protect you from hackers, ISP providers and anyone else who could be spying on you. In other words, a VPN can act as you master key for providing access to books, websites and blogs usually not easy to find in your country.
It can also help you access learning tools protected by geo-fencing. For example, you can access a dictionary only available in Spain or an online library created for people in the UAE.
#3: Use Video Communication Apps Securely
Watching movies and YouTube videos to learn a new language is great. But you can only learn rudimentary Spanish or Mandarin through a couple of shows. If you want to become a proficient speaker, hiring an online tutor who can teach you through Skype or Zoom is a better idea.
Unfortunately, both Zoom and Skype are vulnerable to cyberattacks. Malicious Internet users could hijack your calls and spam you with dangerous files. To prevent this, use a VPN. It will help encrypt your conversations so that you can learn safely.
You probably understand this by now—you can also use a VPN to download video and text communication apps not available in your country. If Skype, Zoom or Facebook Messenger aren’t offered in your nation, you can use a VPN to get them.
#4: Beat School WiFi Restrictions
So, you want to stream Portuguese TV shows while in your Delhi Campus? There’s a chance your school restricts its WiFi. But don’t give up yet. Instead, install a VPN and watch all the shows you want, find books from foreign libraries and interact with tutors who speak the language you want to learn.
Depending on your college, there could be foreign language books in your school library. Use them to look up the meanings of words you learn from films, blogs and podcasts. Better yet, use these books to discover new phrases whose pronunciation you can learn on YouTube and other video streaming networks.
To be clear, it’s not just schools that restrict sites and apps you can visit while surfing their web with their WiFi. Many companies also enforce rules about sites you can’t visit during office hours. In many cases, they ban entertainment sites like Netflix, Facebook and YouTube.
Unfortunately, these are the same sites that could help you learn a new language. If you have some free time during lunch hour, you can use a VPN to unblock these sites and learn a few Japanese, Hindu or Swahili phrases.
#5: Download Learning Materials Safely
One of the most effective ways of learning a new language is to download materials and reference them whenever you forget a concept. But how can you download Mandarin videos safely from torrent sites? Install a VPN.
A VPN provides anonymity while on torrent sites. This reduces the chance that you could be targeted with malware and viruses. A VPN also encrypts your data to avoid interceptions from ISP providers and hackers. With the best VPNS, you also get a dedicated torrent server to speed up the process of downloading content.
If torrenting is illegal in your country, however, you might want to beef up your online security. Many VPNs recommend that you use a safe browser like Tor. What’s more, use double VPN—a service that routes your traffic through two safe servers to make it more difficult to trace you.
Learning a new language takes months or years of practice. But to get started, you can watch a few TV shows, films and videos recorded in the language you want to learn. If these shows aren’t available in your country, though, use a VPN to access them. Also, use it to hide your IP address and protect your data.