One of the most painful issues in learning Hebrew as a foreign language is the lack of opportunities to practice spoken Hebrew. The truth? The solution is actually very simple.
"I really don't know what to do; I have no opportunity to speak Hebrew." This is one of the most common phrases we hear from our students at UAB. And frankly, it sounds strange because, as immigrants to Israel learning Hebrew, everyone should have the opportunity to practice spoken Hebrew.
But the story is much more complex. Those of you born in one of the former Soviet Union countries know how many Russian and Ukrainian speakers there are in Israel. English speakers have always been around, and most service providers can offer reasonable service in English. Therefore, the task of speaking Hebrew daily is much more challenging.
So, what can be done? Here's advice we gave to that student who approached us: The moment I leave the house, Hebrew must be the default choice. Entering a new place? Greet the guests with 'Shalom' and 'Boker Tov' and continue from there. It's actually the simple, everyday conversations at the supermarket checkout, in a cafe, on the bus, and even in the gym that improve speaking skills and allow you to gain confidence in spoken Hebrew. And if you're studying with us at UAB, you undoubtedly have the tools to do it.
We'll also finish with what a dear student named Sarah Bard told us: "When you come to UAB, you just need to trust the process." Keep at it, learn, and simultaneously practice everyday Hebrew. In a few months, you'll feel differently.