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- Some vocabulary is outdated and not always useful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
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: