Learn a language fast forward – get better dive jobs with great dive shops

Learn a language fast forward – get better dive jobs with great dive shops

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Learn a language fast forward in six months

Does it ever feel like the available jobs require languages you don’t speak?

Just after becoming a dive instructor I struggled to find my first employment. Speaking German was one of the main reasons I got my first gig for a large dive shop in Cairns, Australia.

After working in Australia I applied for a job in Indonesia. The position was 70% marketing manager and 30% Cruise Director on a liveaboard. It was a requirement to speak German and English to start. I agreed to learn Indonesian to be able to communicate with the local crew.

I can tell you the best practices shown here do work. I know not all languages have the same level of difficulty. Well, let it be ten or twelve months if the language is harder than Indonesian.

Still, in less than one year, you can potentially get your next dive jobs with a new language. Here I show you how you can do that in six steps.

Bahasa at home-learn a language fast forward

1–Focus on language content that is relevant to you

Chris Lonsdale is a well-known scientist for effective learning. Chris says information that helps survival has relevance. Let’s project that on today’s life.

Information that helps achieve personal goals has relevance.

Focus on scuba diving language

In our case, this a definitely everything that is scuba diving related. Start learning the words of your dive equipment.

I use self-made flip cards. Take a small piece of paper and write the word of the new language on the front side. Write the word of your mother tongue on the back side of the paper. I hang these papers on the boat, in the dive shop etc.. Optimally to a place that is related to the word. Means if I learn the word compressor I stick the flip card to the compressor.

There are really tough words you simply wouldn’t remember even after days. In this case, use your own drawing. Take a new flip card. Draw a short story or an image of that particular word.

Dr Horst Sperber wrote his PhD in 1989 about memory aids. He describes a 90% success rate using the drawing method in his article. I found this article when I taught German as a foreign language and my students wouldn’t remember some words. It works miracles.

If you are a PADI open water scuba instructor or an SSI dive control specialist you see your dive equipment pretty much every day. Just hang waterproof tags to your dive equipment. New word on one side and mother tongue on the other. This is definitely a way to learn a language fast forward because you see it every day.

Chris Lonsdale says ’direct connect’ to mental images not only words as text. In other words when you learn the word fire think of the crackling, the heat, the smell of a fire and connect all your senses to this word.

Here one of my flip cards to learn the Indonesian language:

wetsuit flip card English learn a language fast forward
wetsuit flip card Bahasa learn a language fast forward

Focus on the core

Chris Lonsdale says in the English language 1000 words cover 85% of the daily language. 3000 words cover 98% of the daily language.

In week one learn phrases like what is this, how do you say, I do not understand etc.

In week 2 learn words like you, that, me, give, hot etc.

In week 3-4 learn glue words like but, and, even though etc.

Then start mixing. You know 10 verbs, 10 adjectives and 10 nouns mean you can create 1000 possible phrases!

At that point, you are talking!

2–Speak the language as often as possible

Chris Lonsdale suggests using your new language as a tool to communicate as often as possible from day one. We have 43 muscles in our face to make sounds other people understand. It is the same like sports. Sore muscles hurt. This means if your face hurts you do it right.

Don’t try to be perfect

We all got taught as kids to do things correctly. We are supposed to make no mistakes. Scrap all this outdated thinking.

We learn by making mistakes. Don’t be afraid. If people laugh at you, they just envy your dedication.

If you are not perfect is even good in scuba diving. Your guests are on a holiday and want a fun time. If you speak a language with some mistakes but a charming accent you likely will get well-meant laughs and giggles from your guests.

If i.e. a German does not speak German perfectly is a not funny at all. But a non-native speaker always gets away with lots of mistakes and gets even the credits for the entertainment given to the guests.

Communicate in new language as often as possible

Scott Young and Vat Jaiswal go even a step further and present their One Simple Method to Learn Any Language at TEDxEastsidePrep.

They suggest travelling to a country where your desired language is spoken. Once you arrived stop talking in a language you know at all. They did that together and in the first week, they pretty much only communicated through their dictionaries with each other. It was awkward but after twelve weeks they spoke the new language

Start talking to strangers helps as well. If you are in a country where they speak your new language it is easier. If you are a couple just talk to each other only in the new language. This could be quite funny actually.

I was talking very often to the waiters in the local restaurant, the taxi drivers and the local crew of the dive centre. If they wanted or not, I was talking to them 🙂

Get a language parent

If you are not in such a country it can help if you find yourself a native language buddy. Here are websites where you can find a language partner to share your language skills.

Your online language buddy can act as a so called language parent. Sid Efromovich says at TEDxUpperEastSide a language parent can make you achieve success very fast.

Basically, somebody who is interested in you and understands you like parents do with small kids. Small kids sometimes don’t get understood by anybody except their parents. This works similar to a language parent who gets to know you. This way you can also copy the face of a native speaker to gain faster results.

Benefits of having a language parent

  • puts in the effort to understand what you are saying
  • confirms understanding by using the correct language
  • uses words the learner knows

Talk to yourself

Start talking to yourself. My favourite is the shower conversation. Just talk to yourself under the shower. To take that to the next level you can also sing under the shower. You can talk to yourself anytime of the day of course. But on the street people might think you are weird.

However, Jimmy Naraine suggests a funny way to talk to yourself even on the street in his video. He says to call an imaginary friend. Take your phone and hold it to your ear like you would talk to somebody. Then just talk in your new language as you would have a conversation with somebody on the other end.

Remember to switch your phone to silent mode. Otherwise, it could be very awkward when somebody calls you.

3–Choose a relevant language

The demand for particular languages varies on where you want to work. Since you read this article I assume you speak English. The other nations with the desire to dive and the disposable money to spend on scuba diving are France, Germany and Spain. This is how it seems to me after looking at thousands of job offers.

Also with these languages, it is the easiest to find a language buddy. No matter where you live you very likely find some German or French speaking people around you. Spanish could be a bit more tricky but in times of Internet, it can not be hard to find someone.

Japanese and Chinese are definitely sought after in scuba diving. It is a growing market. You also have good chances to find language buddies. From my perspective just a totally different level of difficulty. Try it and you have my deepest respect if you take the challenge to learn Chinese!

4–Fit your training into your daily routine

Learn small amounts very often

Learn small periods and regular intervals to keep it simple. A good start is 3x per day for ten minutes each says Matthew Youlden at TEDxClapham.

Chris Lonsdale uses the phrase “brain soaking” for the next step. Matthew and Chris support the following actions.

Basically bath in the language you want to learn.

  • watch videos of dive courses ! ! !
  • listen to the radio in the target language
  • watch movies with subtitles
  • watch youtube videos in the target language
  • watch the news and observe the mouth of the speaker
  • change your computer and phone settings to the new language

Don’t try to understand every little word

Focus on getting the meaning of a sentence first before the individual words. You can read the body language of the speaker to support this. When you first understand the message you will unconsciously acquire the language. Chris Lonsdale says this is called “comprehensible input approach”.

By nature our brain filters out the sounds we are not familiar with. We can train our brain to get used to the new sounds. We do this by listening to the new language as often as possible. This accelerates the learning process as well.

5–Make it fun to learn a language fast forward

Obviously, this makes your learning more interesting and will keep you motivated.

Making it a friendly competition with a language partner results in fantastic gains says Matthew Youlden at TEDxClapham. Your buddy, sister or friend will make you work harder if they are ahead of you for sure.

Challenge your neighbour, your dive colleague, your boss of the dive shop to get started. When you are a couple you need to decide if it is a good idea to challenge each other.

You can celebrate the smallest achievements even without a language buddy:

  • Treat yourself with a piece of chocolate
  • Pay yourself a massage if you have reached a significant goal
  • Be affirmative to yourself. Get up in the morning and say. “I will learn ten new words today.”
  • Let the world know on social media what you have reached last week

learn a language fast - arm tattoo

Photo by Don Ross III on Unsplash


As I wrote in the opening languages did help me to land amazing jobs. Especially in Southeast Asia and Australia.

However, there are more things you can and should do to land your dream job. I will write more posts about this.

I really hope this article helps you to find dive jobs with great dive shops.

Write your expertise, experience, and questions in the comments.

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Andreas is a dive instructor and writer. In the scuba industry, he has been working as marketing manager, cruise director, instructor, retail seller and dive guide. Recent years he worked in Indonesia, Australia and Thailand. Now he enjoys listening to the questions and struggles of dive professionals to share his expertise.

All stories by: Andreas
  • Silvia:)

    Wow that’s how to learn new languages in a nutshell. I really enjoy reading your articles Andres and from today on I’ll read many more for sure! 🙂

    • Andreas

      Hey Silvia,

      thanks so much for your lovely comment.
      I am super glad you enjoy reading it!

      If you ever come across a topic you want to write about let me know and you can write an article here as guest contributor for other recreational dive professionals 🙂

      Have an amazing time underwater ?

  • Silvia

    Dear Andreas,

    first of all my apologies that I didn’t write your name correctly! It was a spelling mistake and I (still) could not figure out how to edit my own comment to change that.

    Second, wow… Thank you very much! I will definitely keep it in mind. And yeah, I really did enjoy reading it and already recommended it to others.

    I am glad that I sent you this email a few days ago and that you answered me immediately.
    I hope you enjoy your time in Bali. We’ll keep in touch!

    Best wishes, Silvia

    • Andreas

      thanks Silvia,
      don’t worry about a typo 😀

      Nobody’s perfect;)

      Super glad you love the article.
      Sure please keep in touch. Excited to hear how your aussie adventures go on..

      Safe Diving Silvia!

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