FSI Courses Are Now Available Online – For FREE


The U.S. Foreign Service Institute teaches foreign languages to government diplomats and personnel for duties abroad—and its courses are now available online, for free, to anyone interested in honing their language skills. The extensive library of materials include audio, texts, and tests in 41 different languages.

The Foreign Service Institute’s Language Course web site isn’t actually maintained by the U.S. government itself, but the materials developed before 1989 are within the public domain (whether all of these materials came before then is not clear). Some languages contain more materials—for instance, the three texts on Sinhala isn’t going to beat the giant course on French anytime soon. For the most part, most major languages have student texts in PDF format, and audio in MP3 format which you can later put onto your portable media players. The courses also feature tests to see how well you’ve covered the material. In some cases, “headstart” courses for certain regions in the world are also available.

While the site is a little reminiscent of old-school language learning, the resources are ridiculously extensive and not as archaic as one would expect.  For those that have the time, and those aware of the urgency currently within the State Department to enhance FSO language proficiency, the site is a great resource.

FSI Language Courses


  1. Samir says:

    Awesome resource, thanks for this, I’m taking the FSOT in October and should have enough time to brush up on my Arabic.

    I gave Rosetta Stone a try but it’s a waste… this seems like a better fit!

  2. James Jennings says:

    When I click on the FSI Language Courses link above, I get the following message:


    You don’t have permission to access /Content.php on this server.

    Additionally, a 403 Forbidden error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.
    Apache Server at fsi-language-courses.org Port 80″

    What is the problem, and how do I correct it to get to the available free language material?

  3. greg samsa says:

    I am having the same trouble described above. I cleared my cache and did a DNS flush and I still get the message 403 Forbidden “You don’t have permission to access ?Content.php on this server. I first discovered the problem when my download manager which was handling the mp3 lessons started flashing the error message that I had an invalid password or username, but that had never been required before. I had successfully downloaded the lessons before. Is the site down?

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