The language barrier is a major challenge when living abroad for most people. It can be frustrating, isolating, and sometimes even scary when you can’t communicate with others.
While it’s important to learn a new language before moving abroad, you can do it when you’re already in a new country. Then, your learning process can be much quicker and easier. I’ve learned six languages so far, and here are my tips and hints on learning a language better.
Even though you may feel uncomfortable or unsure about your pronunciation or grammar, try to use the language in daily life.
From a few words to some sentences, you’ll soon get more comfortable with speaking. But, of course, the more you practice, the sooner you become fluent.
Also, don’t feel ashamed to ask people to correct your pronunciation.
Have local friends
Learning a language from locals is a great practice. You can mutually exchange languages, cultures, and more. In addition, locals can show you some cool facts about the town, how to use buses/trains or how to order food in their language.
So, please don’t feel shy when meeting new friends and show your interest in learning their mother tongue.
Watch films or do anything to use the language
Watching movies or shows in a foreign language is an excellent way to learn a new language abroad. It helps improve communication skills, brings excitement, and you can get used to sounds and intonations.
If you don’t like movies, watch cooking shows, travel programs, or any fields you’re interested in.
When I was studying Japanese, I watched anime with sub, and it helped!
When you have certain knowledge, try to read children’s books or newspapers in the local language to broaden your vocabulary and improve your reading skills.
Get your dictionary and journal ready with you. Search and write down new words that you don’t know, and try to memorize them afterward.
It would be best if you started with a short paragraph and then extend more day by day.
More tips to learn a language while living abroad
To be straight, learning a new language is not easy, and it’s a long process.
Try to immerse yourself in the language, practice anytime you can, and apply these tips above.
Also, unless you’re extraordinarily talented, please don’t expect to be fluent in 3 months or half a year. Although some websites will tell you that it’s possible, it would be best to avoid setting unrealistic expectations for yourself.
You can shorten your time significantly if you study more each day, but you can’t get away from spending hours. So what I suggest to do is to create a strong foundation once you’ve moved abroad. Happy learning!