Have you just finished Duolingo or another Esperanto course and are now wondering what to do next? Are you trying to figure out how to further advance and develop your skills? Do you want to put the textbooks behind you and actually use the language? If so, here is a handy guide of where to go and what to do next to fully use Esperanto and dive into the community.
The best method of immersion is to go to an Esperanto event. Most cities have an Esperanto club that might meet once a month and your national association might even organise weekend events now and again. But I feel the best form of immersion is to go to a weeklong event. Using the language all day every day for a week really gets you more comfortable with the language. Just as importantly, it’s a great way to make friends and the best thing about Esperanto is the people you meet. I’ve written a guide about what usually happens at events, so you know what to expect and also a guide about the main events to help you decide which one to go to. My favourite event is the World Esperanto Youth Congress (Internacia Junulara Kongreso – IJK) and I strongly recommend it. Although, if you are still finding your feet with the language, then a study event like SES or NASK might suit you better.
But events cost money and may take place far away from you. What do you if you want to use Esperanto during the rest of the year? Don’t worry, there are numerous apps and websites you can use even if you don’t know any Esperantists nearby. First of all, there’s Amikumu, a mobile phone app that shows you nearby speakers of your chosen language. So, if you select Esperanto, you can see the 100 closest speakers and their distance from you. You can then send them a message, start a conversation and even organise a meetup if you want. The app isn’t limited to just Esperantists, you can use it to find speakers of all languages.
Another very useful mobile app is Telegram. This a simple messaging app and is very popular with Esperantists. There are countless groups where you send messages in Esperanto, based on a wide range of topics (see a full list here). There’s a general chat group, one for English speakers, a group about chess, programming, activism, politics and more. There are many internet forums for Esperanto, the largest of which is the facebook group Esperanto (although the quality of the content isn’t high) but there are numerous other facebook groups for a range of interests. Reddit has a sizeable Esperanto group with 13,000 members and is good for sharing content such as articles and videos. Twitter has a small but active Esperanto community that uses the hashtag #Esperanto and I notice my tweets in Esperanto always get a bigger reaction than my tweets in English because the community is so friendly and supportive.
There are many Esperanto blogs and I have made a full list of them on my Esperanto language blog Teo kaj Libroj. Some of my favourites are Scivolemo (science), Stela ĉiam nur kritikas (critical commentary on the movement) and Denaskuloj (on the experience raising an Esperanto native speaker). I highly recommend the online newspaper Libera Folio, which reports news and opinions on the Esperanto movement. It sees itself as an independent voice, which means it frequently criticises Esperanto organisations and isn’t afraid draw attention to problems and weaknesses. As a result it is controversial with some people viewing it as nothing more than a gossipy scandal tabloid, but I believe a critical voice is essential to the movement. They also publish a lot of non-controversial articles about new Esperanto projects, so it’s the best way to stay up to date (even its critics admit they get a lot of their news from Libera Folio).
The main Esperanto magazine is the official publication of UEA, Revuo Esperanto. This is mainly news and discussion about the movement from an official viewpoint. There is also the publication of TEJO, Kontakto, which devotes only a page or two to the movement and the rest of the magazine is devoted to social and cultural issues. The monthly magazine Monato discusses current affairs and world events in Esperanto. If you want to immerse yourself in the literature and culture of Esperanto, then I recommend the literary review Beletra Almanako which publishes a collection of poems, short stories and essays every three months.
I mentioned UEA (Universal Esperanto Association) and its youth wing TEJO (World Esperanto Youth Organisation) and I would highly recommend that people join them. These are the main Esperanto organisations and core pillars of the movement. They play an essential role in organising the main events, running the main magazines, distributing books, conserving history, promoting the language. By joining you are making an important contribution to the movement and supporting the language. Your country might also have a national association that might be worth joining too (most national associations are also members of UEA).
There are numerous people who have made videos in Esperanto (I’ve even made a handful myself) and the most famous is Evildea who has made hundreds of videos about his daily life and various thoughts and topics that interest him. Charlotte Burton and Alex Miller make great instructional videos, Jozefo does funny videos, Esperanto-USA has been very active lately, Vinilkosmo has lots of music, Oliver discusses interesting topics and I like Ginny’s videos too. If you want to ease yourself into spoken Esperanto, I made a playlist of all the Evildea videos with Esperanto (195 videos) and English subtitles (173 videos), as well as all the Ted Talks with Esperanto subtitles. Tubaro is a site that compiles all the videos relating to Esperanto as they appear on Youtube.
If you want some listening material, then UEA facila is the place to go. They regularly produce new content that is spoken in a slow, clear manner and best of all they provide the text as well so you can follow the words. Esperanta retradio also does this, every day they post a new article on a wide range of topics that is also read aloud. Varsovia Vento is my favourite podcast as it combines a mixture of music, interviews and readings. Kern.punkto is a podcast that dives in many topics often with a scientific edge. Muzaiko is an app that gathers all the podcasts into one place. I’ve made a list of the best Esperanto musicians (in my opinion) and I particularly recommend Martin kaj la talpoj (my favourite song is Sub la ponto) and Jonny M
The topic of books is so vast that I would need a separate article (or several) to go through them all. There are many translated and original books and here are some originally written in Esperanto that I’ve enjoyed. The UEA runs the largest bookshop, but your national association probably also sells books that might have lower transport costs. The Concise Encyclopedia of the Original Literature of Esperanto has over 700 pages so there is a lot of material out there. William Auld compiled a famous list of the best original Esperanto literature in 1997 and here is a list of 100 great translations into Esperanto. This article gives a nice introduction and the Wikipedia page gives a good overview of Esperanto literature. I personally really like the writers Kalle Kniivilä, Spomenka Ŝtimec and Julio Baghy is probably my favourite poet. Star In A Night Sky is an excellent bilingual anthology of Esperanto literature – in the original Esperanto and an English translation.
There are countless other projects that I have forgotten or don’t have space to discuss like the new app for scrabble in Esperanto, Vortludo that has become very popular lately (find me, my name predictably is TeoKajLibroj). Or The Expression: Amrilato, a Japanese anime visual novel about a girl who gets transported to a parallel universe where everyone speaks Esperanto. If you join the discussions mentioned above you’ll be in the loop to hear about anything I forgot to mention and will soon feel part of the community.