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Through Junior Cert, Leaving Cert, College and night school, I’ve tried to master the German language. Now that you know that much, you’ll understand how incredibly jealous I am writing about this. Eimear Kennedy, a 15-year-old Junior Cert student from Clare, just got an A in Italian without attending a single class.

A Junior Cert student from Clare got an A in Italian without attending a single class

Duolingo Actually Works If You Stick At It

Eimear went on a trip to Rome last year and fell in love with the Italian language. Rather than start taking the traditional route and taking it as a class, Eimear downloaded Duolingo. Using this free language tutoring app, she picked up the basics, enough to start practising with some Italian exchange students that she befriended. Right now, I just want to finish this article up, download Duolingo and give it another try. I’ve given up so many times, doubting that you can even learn a language through a free app. Eimear has proved you need to stick at it to success, but also that some additional creativity can help too.

Support Your Duolingo Education With YouTube

Eimear tapped into the secret of Duolingo success. While the app is great and turns language learning into a game, to really succeed you need culture immersion. The exchange students provided a great place to practice her Italian, but she hacked access to even more culture through YouTube. You know those clips that you waste evenings watching on YouTube? Well, Eimear was doing the same, but she was watching them in Italian. From there, she graduated up to Italian TV shows and pop music.

Reaping the Rewards

Ok, so full disclosure. Eimear is obviously a pretty smart teenager. Overall, she landed 11 As in her Junior Cert. One of which was her self-taught Italian. Honestly, she didn’t have one lesson with a teacher; it’s not even on her school’s list of taught languages. All of this using nothing more than free tools you can get, right now.

Go on, give Duolingo a lash. You can even learn Irish through the app.

 

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