Digital nomads typically flit in and out of countries, either staying there for merely weeks at a time or even months but definitely not years.
One of the downsides is that digital nomads don’t stay long enough in a place to pick up a language. Either that, or they pick it up in bits and pieces as they return back to their favourite country or countries.
I lived in Germany and I greatly regret not doing more work at the language, knowing that I will soon be leaving this great country in a couple of months.
For many years, I have been on/off in learning German on my own using free resources online. And yet, despite being here for nearly a year I haven’t attended any German learning courses nor am I able to go in lengthy conversations in the German language. I am able to understand, just normal / simple talk, with the likes of shopkeepers who cannot speak English.
Living here in this country and not being disciplined in learning the language has been the greatest digital nomad regrets that I’ve had in a long while.
Yes, I know, digital nomads don’t ‘typically’ learn the language in the country that they live in. But, I use digital nomadism as a tool to live a life that I want. And one of the features that I want in my life is to pick up new languages.
There is an upside to feeling this regret though. And that is, it has made my resolve to learn new languages even stronger.
In the next few years, I’ll be living in (plans as of writing at least) France, the Netherlands and Norway. And I fully intend to learn the languages in these countries*.
Yes, I will be reaching various proficiencies. Ideally I would like to be fluent in at least 2 to 3 other languages. I’d consider fluency to reach at the least B2 to C2 level equivalency.
So, I either just try to learn the languages and have a better life nomading in these regions or I don’t make the effort learn the languages and have a harder life. Having already been through the motions of living in Germany with basic German skills, I don’t intend to go through this type of experience ever again.
As an FYI, I’m already bilingual. And from age 11 to 12 years old, I was taught Latin and ancient Greek as part of my elementary school curriculum. My high school offered Japanese as a second language, which I had taken up about 4 to 5 units. I’ve been exposed to new and various languages for a long time now, however growing up in a country town Australia, I really only just stuck to being bilingual.
We will see how things go in the next few years!