I’ve been studying Hindi for a long time now, but always in-person with a teacher. But when schools where shutdown across India during the COVID-19 Lockdown, I had to move to online classes.
Online classes aren’t ideal because with Hindi there are some unique pronunciations you need to learn, and they just don’t travel that well over a microphone when you’re learning.
The 0.5-1 second lag is an annoying issue too. It has you both speaking at the same time throughout the call.
But nevermind, for many people around the world, learning Hindi online will be your only and therefore the best option. And it is an effective way to learn Hindi if you can’t go to a Hindi school or have an in-person tutor.
One thing to note, always opt for video calls rather than audio calls. With video, you can at least see each others body language, and the teacher can see if you’re struggling with something. Phone calls are just a bit weird.
Now, here’s what you need for the best possible online learning experience
A hands-free headset
This allows you to hear the teacher clearly in your ear and have your hands free for writing. You don’t have to rely on your phone’s speaker, and when there’s loud noise around, you can still hear the teacher in your ear.
The microphone is also much better than your laptop or phone so the teacher can hear you clearly to and without background noise.
I use the Plantronics Voyager 5200. It’s comfy and I can wear it for 4 hours straight. The volume doesn’t go super-loud, but it’s sufficient for me. I think my ears are bit wrecked from many live concerts in my past life in the Music Industry.
15-inch Laptop or iPad
You need at least a 13-inch laptop so you can have the Skype call open on half the screen and your notes open on the other half. If you don’t have any digital notes that you need to open, then you can get away with just using your phone for the video lesson.
Update: I’m studying Urdu now, and I’ve switched away from my laptop and onto an iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil and a Smart Folio case. The combo of the GoodNotes app with the Apple Pencil is amazing for making notes, annotating digital workbooks, and of course the endless writing practice associated with language learning.
Pencil & Rubber
You should have a Hindi workbook that you’re studying from with the teacher. You need to be continually learning and progressing through it. Therefore, you need a pencil and rubber so you can scribble notes all over the pages.
Ergonomic Desk & Chair
If you’re studying for hours a day, like I am, then you’re going to need a table and chair. Ideally, one that’s ergonomic to your body so you can sit comfortably and studying.
I bought a desk that can convert into a stand-up desk so I can go between standing and sitting during my 4-hours of lessons a day. But right now, while I’m away from home, I’m sitting only.
More important than all these physical things, is your commitment to learning Hindi. Without die-hard commitment, it’ll take you years and years to learn a language – like it has me. I wish I’d taken it seriously and full-time from the start! But sacrificing now and giving it my all so I can fit into society in India and communicate better with my non-English speaking family members.
Studying takes a lot of mental effort, so set yourself up for success with these tips. Good luck with your education.