Have you ever pictured yourself switching seamlessly from one language to another? Envision yourself working in a field like diplomacy or living in an international metropolis like Singapore or Paris? If this sounds like you, you are probably a student of international languages.

If  you are looking to learn a foreign language, and you happen to be in Edmonton, you are in an excellent place to start. While Edmonton isn’t the most culturally diverse city in Canada - you will find fantastic schools, a heritage festival that celebrates the city’s various ethnocultural groups, and restaurants and shops that cater to its growing immigrant population. The city’s suburbs contain vibrant ethnic enclaves with families of German, South Asian, and East Asian roots.

Learn more about learning international languages in Canada.

What makes Edmonton so special? Located in the heartland of Canada, Edmonton is surrounded by natural beauty. Elk Island National Park, located adjacent to the city, is filled with Moose, Elk and hundreds of other species. Edmonton has numerous festivals that celebrate everything from winter to Jazz and to Folk Music, is one of the sunniest places in Canada, and has a massive mall where you can shop to your heart’s content. For a dose of world culture, visit Chinatown, Little Italy, or the French Quarter, or explore the art and culture of Indigenous people at the Indigenous Art Park.

Alberta Natural Beauty
Edmonton is located close to some of Alberta's most beautiful parks. Source: Unsplash

Learning a new language in Edmonton means gaining access to schools that can help you to achieve your goals, whether it is communicating with relatives from around the world or learning a language for business communications. Find a language program in the city’s colleges, universities, or schools and take advantage of local tutors that can help you to speak and practice your target language on a regular basis.

In this article, we will discuss learning international languages in Edmonton - the benefits, how to choose the right class, and which schools offer classes. Let’s explore the benefits of investing your money and efforts into learning a new language.

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Learning International Languages is a Rewarding Investment

When you take your studies seriously, and do the practice it takes to gain proficiency - learning a new language is a fantastic way to invest your time and money. The first major benefit is being able to travel easily in a country or region you enjoy - if you speak the local language, you can meet new friends, ask for and understand directions, and communicate clearly to drivers, authorities, and business staff. Another great benefit is that you may even gain access to new job opportunities and strengthen your resume: French language skills, for example, are prerequisite for many jobs in Canada’s government and education system. With a new language under your belt, you will have practical knowledge you can use throughout your life, and you can easily update your skills through a refresher course or a holiday abroad.

travel to foreign countries with ease
Travel easy when you learn new languages. Source: Unsplash

Learning a new language also connects you to a greater cultural and linguistic community of native speakers and students. Classes often bring into contact with people we would not have met otherwise, who are similarly interested in language and may have similar goals. Join a local meetup group to practice speaking, visit restaurants that will prepare a country’s region or cuisine, or visit a cultural centre to explore the art and traditions related to the language you are learning. If you push yourself to learn and practice, you may discover that acquiring a new language is one of the most rewarding endeavours to pursue - choose the right language and you will always be motivated to learn.

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What to Expect When You Start Learning a New Language

The first step in becoming multilingual involves choosing which language you want to learn. Do you have practical needs, like work or completing a degree? Are your goals driven by your personal life, like a desire to travel or speak the language of your ancestors? Ask yourself important questions about why you want to learn, and the answer should follow quite easily. If you find you are still not sure, think about your own cultural and musical interests, and let those interests guide you.

You may also want to consider the availability of resources in the language you are thinking of learning. French, Spanish, and Mandarin, for example, are widely spoken and studied: you will find plenty of apps, workbooks, podcasts, and media you can use to enrich your learning. If the language you want to learn is spoken and studied by fewer people, you may have to do a little more research to find the resources you want - which can be a rewarding experience if you are up to the challenge.

When you finally do sign up for that first language class, expect to start with basics like greetings, alphabet, colours, numbers, checking into a hotel, asking for directions, and simple conjugations. As you progress to higher levels, don’t be surprised if you find yourself challenged by more complex constructions of language and tenses. Our advice? When you hit that wall, don’t give up and set realistic goals. It can take years to become proficient, and fluency will likely only be attained with full immersion in another country. Keep practicing, and make time for listening to media in your target language like podcasts or videos.

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Find the Best International Language Classes in Edmonton

Edmonton is a major Canadian city, so you will find many schools that offer instruction in world languages. Many private schools will specialize in one language; colleges and universities will offer many in one location. Choose a school you will look forward to attending and has a reputation for high quality instruction. Let’s take a closer look at the best schools in Edmonton.

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Edmonton has a good selection of private language schools to choose from. The German Language School of Edmonton offers classes for adults and kids, the Alliance Francaise is a hub for all things French, and the Russian Language and Culture Education Society of Alberta works to keep Russian culture thriving in the province. The Salesian Chinese School is a great school and Christian organization with Cantonese classes for kids; the Edmonton Chinese School has Mandarin; and the Kiswahili learning centre focuses on Swahili, and the Edmonton Hispanic Bilingual Association is a non-profit organization that offers Spanish classes. You will likely find many more options on a Google search: these are just a few!

find a language class Edmonton
Find a class that works with your learning needs. Source: Pixabay

Colleges and Universities

Colleges and universities can give you the credentials and course options you want if you are on a more formal pursuit of multilingualism. Check out the Concordia University of Edmonton for classes in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Latin, and Spanish. The University of Alberta (UofA) Faculty of Extension offers numerous language courses as well, like Japanese, French, Mandarin, German, and Spanish. U of A also has degree programs in modern languages and literatures, with an exciting study abroad option in countries like Ukraine, France, and Ireland.

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Hire a Private Tutor

Getting a private tutor on board is one of the most effective ways of achieving your language learning goals. Private language tutors are often native speakers who can provide valuable opportunities to converse authentically. A tutor can help you master tricky verb conjugations, prepare for exams, or give you a series of refresher classes to get you primed if you’ve had a break in your studies. You can even organize your private tutor to work with you or your kids in a small group!

Check out sites like Superprof for local tutors in Edmonton that can get you speaking in a new language today.

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Colleen is a Toronto-based educator, mom and freelance writer who believes in lifelong learning and strong coffee.