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How many study hours do you need to learn a new language? The answer will surprise you

One of the questions we’re asked as Ulpan teachers, it’s how many hours will a new immigrant have to learn a new language in order to command a new language. If you learn it the correct way, the number is way lower than what you thought. Read and learn.

You'll be surprised how many hours it actually takes to learn Hebrew fluently.

So you immigrated to Israel and you’re learning Hebrew in an Ulpan. You already know how to order coffee, ask how to get to the mall, and maybe even share how you’re feeling today. The next question that naturally arises is how many hours will you have to learn Hebrew to speak it fluently. In other words, when will I reach the point that I feel comfortable with the language at the same level as my mother tongue?

The answer is simple: If you’re in a course where the teacher speaks only Hebrew, and you’re active in class (we’ll explain shortly), a new immigrant would feel comfortable speaking Hebrew after 75 hours of study. We’re talking about new immigrants or migrants who started from scratch (even those who knew the Aleph Bet from their Bar or Bat Mitzvah), and live in Israel.

With that in mind, after we checked the study progress of 326 new immigrants that started at Hebrew level A1. At UAB, every course lasts 30 hours. During the third course, A3, a student at UAB will reach 75 hours of Hebrew tutoring. At that point, the student has been sufficiently exposed to the language, and demonstrates a high level of understanding and even fluency in Hebrew.

Being actively engaged in class is the best way to make sure you can learn Hebrew in 75 hours of class.

When asked why many Hebrew students that come to Israel and spend way more than 75 hours studying the language, and don't feel comfortable in the language to have a conversation and are feeling the frustration? The answer is that they simply aren’t taught to speak. When a teacher speaks a different language in the classroom other than the one being taught, it’s likely that the students are more passive during the lesson; in many Hebrew courses, students practice answering questions asked by the teacher, but aren’t actively engaging in conversation.

It’s all good and well to answer questions such as ‘where are you from? I’m from America,’ however, from the first class, it’s on the students to be active in class and ask their friends in class the same question.

75 hours of study time will bring you to a place where you will feel comfortable and fluent in Hebrew, we promise. At least with us here at UAB.

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