If you’ve exhausted your Netflix binges, books to read, and bread to make, perhaps now’s the time for you to try learning a new language?

You could take the time to catch up on your favourite shows and films, or even read a book or two, but if you’re looking for a bit of a challenge, an online course might be just up your alley. There are so many different courses to take during your time at home: learn to cook up a storm, make your own cocktails or up your fitness game with virtual exercise classes.

Today, we’re championing learning a new language, a skill that can be used out of your home once the whole COVID-19 situation is over. Rather than just planning your next vacation abroad to an exotic locale, use it as motivation to learn the local language so that you can really immerse yourself in the culture.

If you’re interested in learning but you don’t know where to start, we’ve put together this list of the best online language courses for you to upgrade your skills at home.

This article first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Singapore.


Those looking for a more structured, school-like system when it comes to language learning should check out Coursera. The site offers free classes from top universities around the world, and if you want a recognised certification to come with it, you just need to pay a small fee. You are able to learn at your own pace to complete the units, so there is no stress involved.

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Babbel is designed for those are who are constantly busy, even if they are working at home. They have 14 languages for you to choose from, and they are most known for their Spanish and German courses. In general, their lessons are more practical in usage, which means they focus on conversational vocabulary for real-life situations rather than textbook learning. The first lesson you choose is free, but prices for classes after that begin at US$12.95 for a monthly subscription. Monthly rates are lowered for longer subscription plans up to a year.

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YouTube polyglot sensation, Steve Kaufmann, designed LingQ, a web-based language-learning system. LingQ is great for those who prefer like a community aspect to the interface, and learners can help each other out rather than doing it alone. Its huge database of lessons are supplemented by podcasts, news, music and books so that learning is not limited to the lessons themselves. It is a great way for those looking for resources to improve their language abilities as well.

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Rosetta Stone

Rosetta Stone has built up impressive courses of 28 languages are made for new language learners, building on comprehensive lessons that are short enough to complete each day, but long enough to actually get something out of. Other than teaching you the language, one of its aims is to impart knowledge about the country’s culture. Choose between a monthly subscription plan payment or purchase a lifetime license of unlimited access to all the languages.

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Some people learn best through repetition and memory, and if that sounds like you, then you might want to check Memrise out. We reccomend using Memrise as a practice platform rather than learning a completely new language from scratch as it elevates beginners in their vocabulary learning as compared to other pillars of language like sentence structure. Subscribe to Memrise at US$8.99 a month, US$59.99 for a year or a lifetime subscription of US$99.99.

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Jocelyn Tan
Jocelyn Tan is a travel and design writer. She's probably indulging in serial killer podcasts or reading one too many books on East Asian history. When she actually gets to travel, you can find her attempting to stuff her entire wardrobe into her luggage. Yes, she's a chronic over-packer.