In the U.S., learning a new language seems to be reserved for mandatory studies only. When students go to either high school or college to further their education, they get “stuck” with having to choose among languages that they feel don’t have any appeal to them. The very concept of picking up a book or an audio recording for their own personal enrichment is as foreign to them as Kimchi…Exactly.
For those of us who have an interest outside of ourselves, there are a few things we should consider before choosing a language to study. First off, we should find something we like about the culture so that it can serve as our motivation throughout. For example, if you are a person interested in Martial Arts, you should consider taking up either Chinese or Japanese. In my own experience, I have chosen to study the Korean language due to my obsession with Korean dramas and Korean pop music. And by the way, kimchi is a very beloved food in South Korea!
Another thing to think about is choosing a language that is challenging, but not too challenging. If it’s not a challenge, then we have the tendency to get tired and bored quick. On the other hand, if it’s too challenging, we will quickly lose our patience and give up. Some countries barely even exist in the mind of a modern American girl or boy. For instance, if you choose a language and you can’t find it spoken in any movies on Netflix or used in any songs on YouTube, your chance of learning the language is very small. Your willingness and desire to learn at this point is even smaller. However, at the same time, I am in no way implying that you should only study a language as commonly heard as Spanish. Study a language that you’re drawn to but one that you can easily locate. It will help you in the long run.
Finally, choose a language that you like and you can see yourself mastering. This means get samples of all the many languages you’re interested in and compare them to one another. Maybe this language sounds too fast. Or maybe this one sounds kind of weird.
Can you see yourself speaking like a native after a few months or so? Use this as your guideline when ever you’re in doubt and good luck studying!