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Free (Quality!) Languages Classes from the BBC

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Sometimes after watching the delightfully charming movie “Amelie” or eating a chocolate croissant, I take a few minutes to dream a little dream in which I am bicycling around Paris without a care in the world, admiring its twinkilng lights with Nutella dripping down my little excited face. But then I realize I do have a care, a very big one: I don’t remember how to speak French, no matter how much I pretend to when drinking lots of red wine by slurring lots of pretty but nonsensical sounds together with feigned confidence.

A couple months ago, my daydream almost became a reality when my best pal invited me on a French bicycling tour (!). It was time to dig deep into the places where understanding the importance of the Magna Carta are stored. It was time to brush up on my high school French. But without spending money. Shit.

Fortunately, lots of googling led me to the BBC’s Language site, where there are 12-week online classes for both beginner and intermediate levels. Languages include French, Spanish, German, Italian, Greek, Portuguese, Chinese, Polish, Russian and more (Gaelic!). The courses include video, weekly newsletters, grammar guides, “Phrases of the Day,” a glossary of all the terms discussed and a printable syllabus so you can figure out exactly how much caffeine you will need before each lesson. You can even mock at other people’s mistakes with their “Don’t Try This Abroad” videos, and what’s better than laughing at other people’s mistakes to unwind after some hard studying?

My bicycle trip didn’t end up happening but I am enjoying the “Ma French” brush-up lessons quite well so far regardless. Just give me a bottle of red wine and I’ll prove it to you…

Photo credit: Geogum.com

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Jill S.

Jill S.

Jill is an Ohio native and Boston University graduate who refuses to stop saying "pop" and wearing her Red Sox gear despite being heckled for doing so since moving to Brooklyn. She's been honing her thrifty ways since doing that silly thing people talk about when they ignore reason to follow their hearts and chose a career in the fulfilling but faltering music industry. She earns her beer money as a publicist and writer, and spends her spare time cooking, biking, and trying to decide if she's ready to get a cat.