Welcome to another week of Dear Duolingo, an advice column just for language learners. Catch up on past installments here.
Hi there, learners! This week's Duolingo is brought to you by Mykhaylo Zakryzhevskyy—who's written about learning multiple languages and offered grammar tips for English learners—and Brandon Lesher, who's new to Dear Duolingo! Brandon is a Senior Curriculum Designer with extensive English teaching experience, and earlier this year he wrote about different English dialects. We're writing to you this week from Duolingo's headquarters in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where it is finally starting to feel like spring! 🌱 So this week's question is one we've been asking ourselves as well…
Our question this week:
We have to confess: This sounds a lot like us. 😬 All your bags are packed, you're ready to go, but did you make room in your suitcase for your streak?
Language learning can be hard when you are traveling, so here are some quick and dirty tips to help you continue your learning, keep your streak going, and exercise your brain, from anywhere in the world!
Gamify your learning
When traveling, use the gamification features built into Duolingo to keep language learning on your mind! Here are 3 ways to make gamification work for you:
- Hoard gems before you travel. You can take advantage of Duolingo's gem economy to buy yourself some leeway for when you're on the road. By foregoing a few timer boosts or Streak Freezes before your trip, you can use those gems to freeze your streak during the trip when you might not otherwise be able to practice. Just remember to keep coming back to the app to refill your Streak Freezes after they're used!
- Save up your Streak Freezes. Be strategic about your trip and plan in advance to keep some Streak Freezes at the ready. (This is another use for gems!) You may find yourself without WiFi or cellular service in another country, but if you’ve saved up a couple of Streak Freezes (the free app allows you to store 2 Freezes), you'll be covered for any tricky, off-the-grid situations.
- Do lessons that feel the most manageable. Decide which lessons are the easiest for you time- and effort-wise, and make those your vacation priority. That could be doing a review lesson in the Practice Hub or redoing a Story in your course. Match Madness is also a great choice when you are on the go, and there is no shame in doing something quick to keep that streak going, or to keep from dropping down a league!
|Save up Streak Freezes||Take advantage of the Practice Hub|
Adapt to your new schedule
Your daily routine will be pretty different while traveling… if you have a routine at all! 🏝 Building new study habits will be necessary to keep your learning going.
- Look for convenient opportunities to fit that lesson in. Do a Duolingo lesson while waiting in line to buy your train or bus ticket or at the airport gate, right before boarding your plane. There's always a lot of waiting happening at tourist sites, but you can be productive in the meantime!
- Be careful with crossing time zones. Try to do a lesson before you get on that flight and immediately after you land to preserve your streak!
- Find yourself a Duolingo buddy. Learn with a friend, or even your travel companions! Follow them on the app, and hold yourself accountable for doing at least a lesson a day. You can also message each other reminders (and check on each other in person!), and send each other encouragement through the app. If you happen to be learning the same language, practice using it with each other and the locals you meet.
- During your vacation, enable notifications. Even if you normally have notifications off, you might find them really helpful while on the road! Especially if you're getting dangerously close to losing your streak or getting kicked down a league 😭
Look to your destination for inspiration
If you're traveling to a place that uses the language you're studying, you can make learning part of your sightseeing plans! Finding motivation in your destination will get you excited about the new place you’re about to visit.
- Research where you'll have Wi-Fi. Searching for Wi-Fi will likely be part of your daily schedule while on the road, and you can use that signal to fit a lesson in! While looking up famous cafes and restaurants and researching top tourist destinations, check if Wi-Fi is available. Many cities around the world offer it in public squares and parks, so you could be doing your lessons in some memorable outdoor places! 🗽
- Practice the language “out in the wild.” This is probably the single most useful (and exciting!) piece of advice: Try out what you’ve learned with the locals! After doing a lesson in the morning, see if you can use one thing you learned “out in the wild” to order a coffee in Italian in Rome or check into your hotel room in Berlin using German. For those learning French or Spanish, Duolingo Max now offers real-life practice conversations powered by AI, so you'll be ready to introduce yourself to a local and buy some fresh fruit at the bodega next to your hotel!
|Turn on practice reminders||Try "Roleplay" in Duolingo Max|
You don't need to take a vacation from learning!
Traveling is all about trying new food, exploring new places, and connecting with the locals. Enhance your travel with these easy tips for how to keep your language learning going, and your traveling will be more exciting and relevant!