When I first decided I wanted to learn a foreign language, I thought about buying Rosetta Stone software. I’ve heard good things about it, the commercials are everywhere, and they even sell it at kiosks in the mall. Then I saw the price—ouch! I wondered if I could find similar software for free (or at least cheaper)…and I did! Not only are all of the sites listed below free, but some offer games, apps, flashcards and more unique ways to learn a new language. Here are eight free ways to get started:

1. Word2Word

Word2Word is a website that lists other sites that offer free online language courses. The list is organized by language (there are 117 languages listed!) and each language has at least one website that offers a free introductory course. This is a great resource, especially if you are interested in a language that is more uncommon.

2. OpenLearn

OpenLearn has free introductory language courses in addition to country and cultural guides to help round out your learning experience. Not all activities are free, but you can sort to find the free elements. You can also sort by learning method, such as audio, video, classes, etc.

3. Livemocha

Livemocha is a website you can join for free to learn and practice up to 35 languages. There are drop-in classes where you can learn, speak to others in your new language, and get immediate feedback. The site also features paid lessons and paid one-on-one tutoring.

4. FreeLanguage

FreeLanguage offers a variety of ways to learn over 40 different languages. This site is exciting because it features games, podcasts, videos and even apps. Test your skills by reading online newspapers in your new language. They also include helpful tips on learning a new language, such as pointing out the most frequently used verbs.

5. SurfaceLanguages

SurfaceLanguages is a great tool if you want to learn enough of a new language to get by while traveling in a foreign country. They feature 39 different languages, as well as games and flash cards with the words spoken by actual native speakers. There are no downloads, and all tools are completely free.

6. Learn a Language

Learn a Language is ideal for both kids and parents who want to learn the basics of up to seven languages. Words and phrases are divided into frequently-used categories like food or time. Learn a new language as a family and quiz each other!

7. Anki

Anki is a flashcard app that allows you to create flashcards and quiz yourself. The flashcards work on most computer operating systems as well as on most phones. This is a great and effective tool, but keep in mind that you have to create and set up the flashcards yourself. The instructions are clear and straightforward but may not be the best solution for someone who is less tech-oriented. Because you are creating the flashcards yourself, you can choose any language you want and customize the words to suit your needs and skill level.

8. Local library

Don't forget to take advantage of your local library for language books and audio recordings. Some libraries may also offer videos, cultural information, and even books or newspapers in your new language to test and hone your skills.

This is a guest post by Cosima
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