As you know, the fastest way to learn a language is to immerse yourself in the culture.
Sure, being around fellow עולים (new citizens) and אולפן (Hebrew school) students is a great way to get support. But, if you really want to learn Hebrew, you’ll need to get out there and practice.
In Tel Aviv, it’s too easy to hear and speak English all day. So, here are some places to practice your Hebrew. Just remember, if you don’t use it, you lose it!
1.The שוק (market)
In general, one of the best ways to learn something new is with repetition. The שוק (market) is a great place to repeat saying and hearing the same things over and over again. For example, “?כמה זה עולה” (How much does it cost?) and “?מה זה” (What is it?) are common questions heard at the שוק.
2. Your in-laws or partner’s family
In-laws somehow tend have a bad rep. But, even if you’re not the biggest fan of your partner’s family, it’s a good place to practice your Hebrew.
They’re most likely going to be patient and non-judgmental. When the atmosphere is welcoming, you’ll feel better trying to speak, as well as making mistakes. And remember, mistakes are part of the game!
3. WhatsApp with Israelis
WhatsApp in Hebrew is a great way to practice because you can take your time to read the message and respond. Not to mention, you can copy-paste into a translation app (Morphix or Google Translate). Before you know it, you’ll be texting in Hebrew like a pro.
4. Senior homes (or anywhere with seniors)
For real. Seniors are usually not in a rush to go anywhere and they speak slowly. That’s the perfect combination for you to practice Hebrew! And, old people usually love having visitors and people to talk with. Israeli seniors almost always have interesting stories and a sense of humor, too.
Kids don’t judge, which means they’re the best people with which to practice your Hebrew skills. If you’re a parent, dropping off and picking up your kid from school is a routine practice, and a good way to learn through repetition.
Remember, kids don’t care about making mistakes. They just want to tell you about their day. And if you’re not a parent, babysitting Israeli kids is a surefire way to improve your Hebrew.
6. Clothing stores
There is no shortage of clothing stores in Tel Aviv, so the next time you find yourself trying things on, try saying everything in Hebrew to the salesperson. You can always use your hands to demonstrate what you’re looking for.
Hands-on learning is one of the best ways to remember new information. An, hopefully the salespeople are friendly and have “the customer is always right” mentality … ha ha.
7. Yoga studios
Yogis are almost always calm people, and the studio is a welcoming place, so it’s a good time to feel free to speak a little bit.
And, if you’re a yogi yourself, you already know the moves and terms, so you’ll be able to recognize the Hebrew words the yoga instructor uses.
8.On a date
Going on a date with an Israeli? Speak Hebrew! Your date will probably find it cute and endearing. People love being the “pro” and correcting mistakes. And, if all goes well, you can end up practicing with his or her family sooner than later since, well, that’s just how it goes in Israel (see: number 2).
9. The bars
Another great place to practice is at one of the many awesome bars throughout Tel Aviv. A little bit of alcohol is the perfect social lubricant to feel unselfconscious and have a good time. You can say things in Hebrew and not give a s*#@ if you sound funny. Cheers!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Alva Yaffe is a content writer and creator. She made Aliyah from Toronto in 2013. She lives in Tel Aviv with her husband and daughter and enjoys almost every minute of it.