Shortly after booking my ticket for an upcoming trip to France I started to panic about my ability to truly enjoy the destination on the limited amount of French I learned years ago in high school. I started looking for some online resources that might help me prepare. I was pleasantly surprised with what I found.
The first site I stumbled upon was a community based language training site, Livemocha. In a matter of minutes I was registered for free and began relearning French with the French 101 class. The site does a great job of combining different learning styles be it visual, oral and written. One feature I particularly enjoyed was at the end of each lesson there was a reading lesson in which I would read a phrase into my computer microphone and community members would critique and provide constructive feedback on my pronunciation. In return each time I entered and audio submission I was given the opportunity to critique someone who was learning English. This was satisfying knowing that I was able to help someone learn English.
I look forward to become more fluent in French through classes like Livemocha. In the short term I needed a refresher to help me with the basic terms and phrases needed for my upcoming trip. So, I next performed a search of French podcasts through iTunes. Again, I was satisfied with the results. Alexa is the host of an excellent podcast "The French Ecole Podcast" that I would recommend to anyone interested in learning the language.
Another useful podcast was from the folks at SurvivalPhrases.com. As their name implies they offered a series of podcast lessons focused on giving travelers the necessary phrases and terms words to not only survive but thrive in your vacation destination.
If you have plans to travel to a destination that speaks a language foreign to you. I highly recommend you checkout many of the great language tools online. Let us know if you have found a website, podcast or application that has helped you learn a new language.