It may seem strange to think that you can learn a language without even living in a country where it is abundantly spoken. Taking a look at this question, I would agree with those who might suggest a level of counter productivity or even a touch of absurdity. However, it is not the case that we live in a world devoid of information and there are now more resources than ever at our fingertips. In essence, we live in a connected and wired up world in which we are instantly able to contact anyone in whatever civilized country we desire.
So can this help us to learn German?
Well, the answer is yes; there are so many resources that we simply cannot avoid German; it's probably printed on an item of packaging near where you're sitting. So how can we use this to our advantage?
The internet is a great starting point. Online we can look at German articles, read some German news articles or listen to the radio. For some TV stations you may even be able to access a limited number of programs. We can take in a lot of this language: our brains are tuned in and we are like sponges when we hear another language. In this way you can hear, listen to and even write and speak German without even leaving your chair.
You can also subscribe to German magazines and newspapers to keep up your interest. A good idea is to order your favourite magazine in German and try to understand a few articles. Employing this method allows the casual German learner to stick to this one important maxim: Little and Often. Little and Often is a great way to ensure your brain retains information and short recaps here and there are really good as a quick revision.
German literature is another great way of improving your language and vocabulary if you are familiar with the language and most components of its grammatical system. It is a more engaging and interesting way of learning and you can keep up with the culture and history of German speaking countries as well. There are also many important philosophical topics to look at such as the work of Leibniz and existentialist thinkers.
Online German courses are also now becoming more and more advanced to such an extent that they might even be as effective as having your own tutor. Tuition or attending classes is effective and you are able to tailor things to your own needs as well as asking questions and revising areas of uncertainty. Online courses and self study books are difficult to keep motivated for but are very cost effective. The level of testing and interactivity is also generally very good with this option.
So there you have it: In such a modern world with resources coming out of our ears, you really don't need to travel the world in order to learn a new language. As one of the most prominent languages in Europe, German is all around us and learning it has never been easier.