In Hungary there are two compulsory foreign languages at secondary grammar schools whereas only one is taught in secondary technical schools. That’s why people start learning languages there.
There are students who go to private teachers or choose a language school. Some people try to study themselves, reading books, newspapers and magazines with the help of a dictionary, listening to the radio, watching films with subtitles or using a computer programmer. Those who can afford it go abroad to attend a language course in the target-language country. Others try to find a job abroad, for example, as an au-pair, to learn the language.
I study English at school. This year I have five lessons a week, but unfortunately we haven’t got any native British or American teachers. It is very hard to get one in the country.
I read several books. For example, my cousin lent me a grammar reference book, and my friend, who lives in Scotland, sent me a collection of short stories for my birthday. I also read magazines in English. I watched subtitled English series on cable TV and listened to CDs to improve my listening skills. I did several tests and translations. I also got extra homework from my English teacher at school, such as compositions.
It is necessary if you want to get a degree, and it is an advantage when a student wants to go on to higher education. Nowadays if you would like to get a good job, you have to be able to speak foreign languages, and it’s good if you can prove it with a certificate. It is a standard in the EU that a European citizen should speak two foreign languages.
Yes, it’s easier to practice a language than learning other subjects because you can do so many things with a language. You can communicate with people while you are travelling, you can give directions to tourists, and you can enjoy books, films and lyrics of songs much more when you are familiar with the language.
Learning foreign languages is really important because you can get to know the culture of other nations, and you can use a foreign language not only in its native country. For example, when I was on holiday in Denmark, I talked to everybody in English. It’s a big advantage if you want to get a good job, especially if you would like to work for a multinational company. You can read books in the original, and you don’t need translations. You can make friends all over the world. You can also chat with foreigners via the Internet.
There are plenty of great resources for language learners on the Internet and you can easily find free websites as well. I like the BBC Learning English website the most.