If you are finding yourself spending ever more time communicating with colleagues and friends overseas while you are working from home, making the effort to learn a language is an excellent way to enhance your communication and team spirit. Furthermore, if you are busy looking at ways to freshen up and enhance your resume, good working knowledge of a foreign language is a very covetable skill.
There are now lots of opportunities to learn a language online, whether via local tutors or as part of an accredited course with international cultural institutes such as Germany's Goethe-Institut or Italy's Dante Alighieri Society.
Here's a look at some excellent online courses in Joburg that you can sign up for this month.
Learn German online with the Goethe-InstitutThe Goethe-Institut's online courses include plenty of tutor supervision including regular personal feedback from your teacher throughout the course on your speaking and writing assignments as well as virtual Live Chat classroom lessons with your teachers twice a week. As well as online class time with teachers from Germany and your fellow classmates, the Goethe-Institut's courses also include access to an online learning platform where you can make use of extensive versatile and hands-on learning materials, flexibly plan your online exercises and receive automated feedback.
COURSE LENGTH AND DATES: Courses last for nine weeks with two or three (intensive course) virtual classes a week. While the next semester just started on 20 April there's still plenty of time to jump in now and catch up. You have no need to worry about having missed the start as the course structure is designed that you will be able to catch up straight away!
COST: Courses cost from R4,500 for nine weeks including all materials (which works out at R500 per week).
HOW TO SIGN UP You can sign up straight away to get learning here at the Goethe Institut website or email the Goethe-Institute Johannesburg team at JOH-LearnGerman@goethe.de.
Learn Italian online with the Dante Alighieri SocietyThe Dante Aligihieri Society's 12-week course consists of three hours of online lessons a week and includes all relevant online learning materials and access to the online learning platforms. By signing up to an Italian course you'll also get all the benefits of being a Dante Alighieri annual member which includes access to the institute's book and DVD library and invitations to the institute's events, discounts at local Italian restaurants and shops, chess classes, Italian cooking courses and much more.
COURSE LENGTH AND DATES: The new semester starts on May 11 and pre-registration is open until April 30. They are even throwing in some free trial lessons for beginners so you can see just how fun and easy it is to learn a new language online. The free trial lessons will be offered from May 4 to 7 for those who want to try before enrolling. Please note that prior booking for these is essential. If you take the trial and decide that its definitely something you want to keep doing, your registration and payment must be confirmed by May 8.
COST: The full course costs R3,912 (which works out at just R326 a week).
HOW TO SIGN UP: To pre-register to join the online course, or to reserve a place at one of the free online trial lessons email firstname.lastname@example.org or call +27 65 394 8196.
Online isiZulu lessons with Bridge BooksIf you've ever wanted to get started on learning Zulu but are too busy to embark on a full-blown course, Bridge Books' 'drop-in' Learn Zulu classes, led by a local bookseller from Soweto Thabiso Mtimkulu, are a fun way to get equipped with some communication basics that you can use in everyday city life.
The theme for April's online classes is music. You’ll receive an outline with key vocabulary and notes before the session, as well as a music playlist with Zulu music that will be discussed during the class. The class is led on Zoom and starts with learning how to introduce each other in isiZulu, as well as in urban slang or 'tsotsi taal', before moving on to look at ways of talking about music in isiZulu, different styles of traditional music, gospel and contemporary and different traditional musical instruments, as well as how to sing an isiZulu song.
COURSE LENGTH AND DATES: Classes happen every Wednesday.
COST: The one hour class cost R250.
HOW TO SIGN UP: Book to join the class here on the Bride Books website and follow the Bridge Books Facebook page for details on upcoming themed classes.