It’s no secret that great thoughts come to us at the most unlikely – and often least convenient – times.
For me at least, this tends to happen in the shower. It’s comfortable, it’s relaxing, and all you want to do is stay inside because you know that the moment you step out it’ll be freezing and then you’ll have to go to work.
If you’re going to procrastinate and run up your hot water bill anyway, why not put that time to good use and work on your languages in the shower!
As you stand there in the shower, hot water washing away the dirt, the grime and the stress just fade away. Maybe it’s the stress of a long day or perhaps the anticipation of that day or maybe you just need some– *ahem*… alone time.
In any case your muscles begin to relax and then with no warning, you’re hit on the head with an unstoppable wall of dopamine-induced brilliance turning you into an apex predator of intellectual potential.
We do some of our best thinking when we’re in the shower. Our minds are free to forget about outside distractions, worries or other sources of anxiety, and with that freedom they roam.
With this relaxation comes a lovely little dose of dopamine, our brain’s natural “happy drug.” As if dopamine wasn’t already awesome enough, it can also boost your creativity.
Studying languages in the shower
Yes, I’m serious. Finding time for language learning can be kind of a pain in the ass sometimes and you should take advantage of every opportunity that you can get.
But other than simply talking to yourself in your new language – which you can of course do – what else is there?
I’ve gone and dug up a few resources that you can use to optimize your language learning schedule.
This seems like a pretty obvious solution to a fairly simple problem, and most of you have probably already thought about this at one point or another in time.
Maybe a great idea popped into your head, maybe the foundations of a strategy for world peace suddenly manifested in your mind. Maybe you just want to draw dirty things on the wall like a 13 year old boy.
Or, maybe you just want to practice your Hanji, Hangul or your Greek alphabet in peace.
If you need to practice your writing, why not just do it in the shower?
Someone – who was obviously taking a shower – is making money right now because language learners like you decided that they could do better than drawing Hiragana in the steam on the glass with your finger.
Bet you wish you had thought of that.
You can find one here.
#2 Bath crayons
If the child in you wasn’t already excited enough about the opportunity to use a whiteboard in the shower every time you have a light bulb go on above your wet, foamy head, it will be now.
For the especially disorganized, just throw out the board and use multicolored bath crayons to draw all over the walls!
Yes, it’s just like you’re 6 again. Except that this time you’re scrawling Arabic script from right to left across the top of the bathtub in purple.
Alternatively, if you’re boring and hate fun, you can probably get away with a regular old wet/dry erase marker.
#3 Waterproof Speakers or Radios
It’s arguable that listening practice is the most valuable aspect of language learning, right up there with speaking.
Thus, it would behoove us all to spend as much time working on our listening skills as humanly possible, right?
This is why geniuses invented shower radios with Bluetooth. If you’re already listening to foreign language music, using an audio course such as Pimsleur, or even checking out radio stations online, you can now infuse your showering experience with sounds of linguistic goodness.
So pick yourself up a pair of waterproof speakers that you can connect your mobile device to – via Bluetooth, no cables required – and start singing! In another language!
*bonus* You can also buy this thing so that you can even take your mobile devices into the shower with you if you’re just that horrendously inseparable from your toys.
Wet Memrise = best Memrise.
#4 YouTube and Podcasts
So now that you’re able to take notes and listen to all of your favorite stuff in the shower, how about we talk about some of the things you can actually use while you’re listening and writing away with your cool waterproof radio and your crayons.
It just so happens that I’ve already composed a great big list of some of the best language podcasts and YouTube channels by some of the biggest names in the language community.
There’s a bit of something for everyone here, and the list is constantly being expanded, so if you’re having trouble finding what you’re looking for don’t hesitate to ask. I’ll do what i can to find resources.
Also, if you want some of your favorite podcasts or channels listed here as a resource for others, please feel free to leave a comment with your suggestions.
For those who don’t already know, Audible is Kindle’s audiobook brand and it carries an enormous selection of foreign language audiobooks.
I don’t know how long your showers usually last, but I certainly can take up a chapter’s worth of hot water – no problem.
When it comes to awesome, free language resources it’s hard to beat Audible. While there is a monthly paid membership for those looking for regular books, you can also catch some really cool freebies just by signing up with a new account.
I wrote a more complete review of Audible that you can check out here. If you’re looking for the tl;dr I’ll walk you through the steps really quickly:
You can get two free, foreign language (or not, if you prefer) audiobooks of your choice, from a list of thousands, in a bunch of different languages, right now. Then cancel your membership, keep your books and start soaking in that tub.
Step 1: Follow this link.
Step 2: Click on “Start Your Free Trial”
Step 3: Enter your payment info. Yeah, I know, I said it’s free, and it is. Keep reading.
Step 4: Select your free audiobooks
Step 5: Download your books to your mobile devices (Audible has an app for iOS and Android and naturally Kindle.)
Step 6: *optional* Cancel your payment. You get to keep your app, your free books, and you can always buy new audiobooks at any time individually without having to have a subscription.
How to cancel an Audible account
I include this because Audible obviously doesn’t want you to unsubscribe and I had a fun little Easter egg hunt for this myself when I did my own trial.
If you aren’t interested in paying for a continued membership at a rate of $15 per month after the trial period ends, you can cancel your subscription immediately after downloading your two free books.
You’ll keep the books and never pay a cent.
However, Amazon is sneaky and lots of people seem to get frustrated with this part, which is probably what Amazon is hoping for.
In order to unsubscribe you have to go into your Audible account at audible.com. Log in with your account info and click “cancel my account”.
It’ll give you the usual garbage about continuing your subscription, ask you if you’re certain, express a sad sentiment, and then graciously tell you to come back soon.
That’s it. You have successfully unsubscribed from Audible and made off like a bandit with your two free language audiobooks!
#6 Bring a friend
It saves water, it’s good for the environment, it’s a lot more fun than showering alone and now it can also be highly educational! It’s one thing to listen to your music, your podcasts, your audio books, and to scribble sonnets in Devanagiri.
You can even buy one of those water proof case things for your tablet and sit there in the tub reading an eBook if you want reading practice.
But I’ll insist yet again that the key to successfully learning a language is to speak it, and for that you really need a second person.
Or a third. Some showers are larger than others.
I’m sure you’ll have a lot to discuss.
You and your shower buddy have redefined “immersion” and “language exchange.”
You now have your mobile device safely tucked away in its waterproof case.
Your speakers are blasting your favorite French podcast.
And you have painted your walls with a myriad of bright, Japanese Crayola smears.
It is beginning to sound like you have successfully converted bath time into learning time.
It’s surprisingly easy to cram language learning into the commonalities of day to day life. All it takes is a healthy dose of motivation and a few good ideas.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably noticed that your mind seems to be at its best when it’s being bombarded with hot water.
Where do you think I came up with this article in the first place?
Do you ever bring your language projects into the shower with you? What are some other somewhat unorthodox places that you find yourself studying?