101 Languages

FSI Courses

About These Courses

These courses were developed by the Foreign Services Institute (FSI) – a part of the U.S. State Department. They were designed primarily for diplomats and other government officials working abroad. As such, the goal of the courses is to teach basic listening comprehension and speaking ability.

Why Are They Free?

The courses are in the public domain and therefore free for anyone to use. FSI courses are regarded as some of the best free language courses available. Many of these courses are also available here and here and here. You can download the courses via torrent here.

How To Use These Courses

You can use them as a primary way for learning your target language or as a tool to supplement your learning. If you follow any particular course all the way to the end you should have a good working knowledge of whatever language you choose.

Many of the courses focus on drills and repetition, which can make them dry and boring at times. This can be a challenge for some people. To account for this, you may want to break up the courses into manageable chunks. For example, you might try to finish one lesson per week.

More About These Courses


  • The courses are generally very comprehensive (especially the Basic courses)
  • The audio component (spaced repetition) is helpful for listening and pronunciation skills
  • Good layout and presentation of materials
  • Strong focus on language mater without any extra “fluff”
  • Great price (free!)


  • Some vocabulary is outdated and not always useful
  • Lack of interactive/social aspect that can benefit learning
  • Rote-learning nature may not appeal to some depending on learning style

Bottom Line:

If you follow a course all the way through you should have a good working knowledge of your target language (especially with the BASIC courses). The courses also work well as a supplemental learning material.

FSI Courses Review

The following courses are available:

 Bulgarian Basic Course

 Cambodian Basic Course

 Cambodian Contemporary Course

 Cantonese Basic Course

 Chinese Standard Course

 Czech FAST Course

 Finnish Conversational Course

 French Basic Course

 French Metropolitan Course

 French Phonology Course

 German Basic Course

 German FAST Course

 German Programmed Course

 Greek Basic Course

 Hebrew Basic Course

 Hungarian Basic Course

 Italian FAST Course

 Italian Headstart Course

 Italian Programmed Course

 Korean Basic Course

 Lao Basic Course

 Lingala Basic Course

 Norwegian Headstart Course

 Portuguese FAST Course

 Portuguese Programmed Course

 Russian FAST Course

 Shona Basic Course

 Spanish Basic Course

 Spanish Headstart Latin America Course

 Spanish Headstart Puerto Rico Course

 Spanish Programmatic Course

 Swahili Basic Course

 Swedish Basic Course

 Thai Basic Course

 Turkish Basic Course

 Vietnamese Basic Course

 Yoruba Basic Course

 Yoruba Intermediate Course

  • DanForg

    Thank you, very much!

    • 101languages

      You’re very welcome Dan, enjoy!

  • ChineseNovice

    Thanks for providing all these great materials. They may be a bit old-fashioned but they are very thorough and a lot better than lots of materials that cost a lot.
    A company called Speed Learning Languages is selling these courses in slighltly rehashed form for hundreds of Dollars. I know the Audio for their Mandarin course is the same as the Standard Chinese course on offer for FREE here.

  • Manuth Chek

    No Ukrainian, sigh…

  • frank rook

    Thank you 101. Appreciate this. All solid material.

  • PhotoWien

    I am looking for the Polish course, the audio part. Thank you.

  • Ana Núñez Ortiz

    I would really love a Japanese one. I already am using this website to learn Korean and I have downloaded the Basic Korean FSI, but I am also Interested in Japanese so… please make that happen! Thank you.

    • 101languages

      Unfortunately there is no Japanese course that exists that I am aware of 🙁

  • Victor Passenheim

    A thousand “Thank you!”s. A wealth of information here. Free!

  • ルニザ マヅラ

    how about japanese?

  • RobertLima

    Where is the Torrent’s link??? Isn’t available!

  • Wilkens Santos

    This is a fantastic initiative! I have a foreign languages course in Brazil but i myself use and advice students and friends to make good use of FSI materials. Thank you so much for the effort to help a worldwide of fans!!!

    Wilkens JM Santos,
    Fortaleza, Ceara – Brasil