Learning a new language can open an almost unimaginable number of doors and opportunities in your life, especially if you have the due diligence to put in the effort and push through to the end. Considering the hefty reward potential in learning a new language, it almost seems criminal not to pair language learning up with traveling to really expand the mind at exponential leaps and bounds. After all, not only are you immersing yourself in a new culture in a literary sense but a literal sense while being there in person. There’s no better way to learn a language than to be present in the culture and lifestyle of the language and it’s our hope that this article will help convince you of that fact.
Build A Foundation
Before you go on your travels, we highly recommend building a useful foundation to build your new language skills on before you travel. After all, it will certainly be easier to learn to read in a controlled environment and then apply those skills in the real world later. While it is a strongly agreed fact that language learning happens best when you’re only being taught in your target language, it’s definitely better to learn at least a few fundamentals in tandem with your native language to aid understanding. If you’re confident, you can even try to do it yourself. Once you’ve built a foundation for your target language, learning basic things like how to read, greetings, numbers, etc, then you can dive headfirst into learning your target language in person!
When looking for a location to learn your target language and travel to, try to go to the places where people do not speak your native tongue at all. This ensures that you can’t rely on a safety net that becomes all too easy to abuse. It would be ideal if you could opt for an English language school in Sydney, a Spanish course in Madrid or a German course in Munich to ensure that you’re surrounded by your target language. While it will seem stressful at first, the fact that you’re constantly surrounded by your target language means that your brain will constantly be practicing even when you’re not fully aware of it. This is not to say that you should indulge in this immersion without some kind of safety net in place. At the very least, you should have a phrasebook or dictionary handy at all times since you may not be able to ask for help directly from anybody around you.
Put Yourself Out There
It is absolutely impossible that you’re going to learn a new language without making many mistakes along the way. Here’s the thing, if you’re constantly afraid of being judged for how you speak, you’re not going to be able to practice and you’re going to learn far slower than otherwise. We believe that fundamentally people are good in nature and are willing to help anyone that they see struggling. Even if you make a mistake, just take it as a learning moment and push on. You may even bond with those around you and form lifelong friendships from growing conversations with someone.
Keep It Simple
To iterate our point here, consider the following situation: A family of a mother, father, and child walk into a fast food restaurant in a foreign country where they speak the local language just enough to get by. The parents struggle on how to order their food in a grammatically correct fashion while the child walks up and simply says “THREE” while pointing at the pictured food item labeled three. Sometimes, using the simplest of terms and concepts is enough to say what you need to say. Worry about the grammar and language later. Get the communication across first. The more you communicate, the better and more comfortable you’ll get in speaking your target language.
Ultimately, learning a language is no easy task and doing it while immersed in a country you travel to is still a daunting task. But if you persevere, then we promise you’ll be all the more glad for it. In today’s increasingly connected world where more people can talk to each other than ever before, being able to speak multiple languages is incredibly valuable and should not be underestimated. Good luck with the learning!