Hola! maybe bonjour? Or kon'nichiwa? What about nǐ hǎo?

No matter which language you're passionate about, becoming bilingual is easier than ever nowadays. Whether you’re enrolled in a language course or studying something completely unrelated, language apps are a cost-effective option for students. Sure, you could pay for a private tutor, but all you really need to master the basics is a mobile phone.

Whether you want to discover the secrets of Spanish, get the hang of Hungarian or conquer the complexities of Chinese, these are the best apps to help you learn a second language.

duolingo

Duolingo is one of the most popular language apps in the world. With over 30 different vernaculars to choose from, basic courses for beginners and cute cartoons, it’s entertaining and easy to use. To get started with Duolingo, all you need to do is create a profile, pick a language and set your weekly goals (you can earn points and rewards for meeting your goals). Most of the app’s features can be accessed for free, so it’s perfect for students.

Each course is made up of separate modules, with different skills and similar phrases grouped together. The models get harder as your language skills gradually improve. You can even talk to the app to test out your pronunciation of new words (try to avoid doing this on public transport, as your fellow commuters may not appreciate your clunky German or garbled Russian).

The best thing about Duolingo is how easy it is to customise – if you prefer to learn at your own pace, you’ll love this app.

memrise

From Finnish to Dutch, Memrise offers users over 200 different languages. It you’ve already learnt the basics of a second language through your studies, it lets you skip ahead to more advanced lessons.

Memrise teaches new phrases in a unique way. By placing words into sentences that sound similar to words in your native language, it lets your memory do most of the heavy lifting. This technique (known as “elaborate encoding”) is supposed to help your brain make connections so that you can memorise a foreign vocabulary more easily.

Alongside elaborate encoding, Memrise also employs a combination of audio, images and other nifty memory techniques. You can pay a subscription fee to access premium features, but the free version still gives you plenty to work with.

rosetta stone travel app

Rosetta Stone has been designing professional-grade language learning software since the 1990s. Their latest product range includes a free language app designed to help travellers learn useful words and phrases. Rather than attempting to teach users an entire new language, this app focuses on the essentials. If you’ve got a backpacking expedition planned for the uni holidays, or if you’re thinking of doing a semester abroad, this app is ideal for both travellers and international students.

Regardless of how much you love exploring new countries, visiting a foreign destination where you don’t know a word of the local lingo can be a frustrating experience. Even simple tasks like ordering a drink or asking for directions can quickly turn into a weird game of charades.

The Rosetta Stone travel app can help you avoid such awkward shenanigans. Designed as a digital phrasebook, it has dozens of images next to common phrases so you can easily find what you’re looking for. Need to order a beer in Spanish (una cerveza por favour), or ask for directions to the Colosseum (quale strada per il Colosseo)? Simply whip out this app and you’ll be talking like a local in no time.

busuu

busuu is a language learning app and social network in one. Using flashcards, conversations with native speakers, quizzes and vocabulary exercises, it takes the tedium out of learning a new language. Every busuu course has been created by an expert linguist and covers reading, writing, listening and speaking skills. Users can even access personalised feedback from native speakers, so you can keep a close eye on your progress.

It doesn’t matter if you’re starting from scratch or trying to brush up on your foreign language skills before your next exam – busuu’s social features and interactive design will have you hooked within minutes.

why bother learning a second language?

Studying a second language is no walk in the park, so why would anyone bother when there’s such a thing as Google Translate? Well for starters, online translators have their limitations. Nothing can butcher a beautiful language quite like Google, especially if you’re trying to translate long and complicated sentences.

Together with being able to translate things properly, learning a new language can open up career opportunities after graduation and boost your brain power. So what are you waiting for? The sooner you start practising, the sooner you’ll be able to start showing off your linguistic skills.

If you’re looking for a SIM plan that can accommodate a language app on top of everything else you use your data for, amaysim’s SIM only plans are a great option and give you the freedom to simply pick the data allowance that suits you best.

Starting from just $10/28 days, with no lock-in contracts and the option to change your plan each month at no extra cost, it’s an easy choice when it comes to finding the perfect mobile plan to match your usage and budget needs.

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