Learn a language in three days!

| Amr Shaker

An expected misconception from people reading the title, is that I mean it would take exactly three days to learn a language, and that I am about to present the magical formula for this. I apologize for foiling your dreams, but I do not have any magical formula, neither do I know how long it would take you to learn a new language. Unfortunately, the answer to ‘How long does it take to learn a language?’ is only determined by the learner himself.

The TCP language Centre in University of Twente offers courses in three languages namely: Dutch, English and Spanish. Many students I know who have previously attended these courses gave me disappointing feedback. Well, it is a known fact that joining any language course does not in any way guarantee you to end up proficient. After attending a lengthy course that extends to almost three months, you may not say that you spent the three months learning the language. In fact you only spent two hours every week through an interval of three months in this course. Do the math, you shall see, the total time you spent learning your language is merely 24 hours!

Similarly, the time “three days” used in the title is literally the time spent on a nine months course without the learner putting any effort to learn by himself. Long story short, if you do not help yourself, no one will. If you do not learn independently, the fastest you can ever learn is as fast as your course progresses. Hence, the question is never “How long does it take to learn a language?” but rather “How much time are you willing to spend learning the language?”

It makes very little sense to specify an amount of time needed to learn anything. It depends on the person’s perspective. Most people do not structure their time effectively in order to learn. Therefore, a good idea is attending a course with a timed frame to fit in and doing your part learning the language according to the instructions provided in the course. The three months courses offered by the TCP in University of Twente are clear about their purposes and have realistic milestones, and adequate time distribution. Add to that some devotion from the learner; they are indeed the roadmap to mastering a new language.