How do people usually learn a new language?
Some prefer paid courses where you can master a foreign language consistently with others. Another option is to use online apps if you don’t like meeting large groups of people.
However, there’s a considerable disadvantage to both of these ways – you don’t get to practice your skills with native speakers as often as necessary to solidify your knowledge.
So, what’s the solution?
You can learn a new language while travelling. This way you can also explore the foreign culture. After all, you can’t master a language without understanding the culture behind it.
Here are some recommendations on this topic.
1 Make a Plan
First, you need to ask yourself – what level of knowledge would you like to achieve before and during your journey?
Here, it is important to remain realistic. You need to understand that you can’t go to a foreign country with zero skills in the language it speaks. Besides, the minimum knowledge of a foreign language is a good starting point to continue practising it while travelling.
Here are some tips on how to put together a plan for language learning:
- Create a list of milestones. For instance, you can divide all the basic vocabulary and phrases you want to learn before the trip into several parts and assign a milestone to each of them.
- Focus on weekly achievements. Start learning several weeks before the journey and give yourself a realistic goal for each week.
- Be consistent. Study for at least 15 minutes every day. This is necessary to memorize new words and grammar constructions better.
However, make sure not to overburden yourself with tasks. Indeed, when you learn a new language, it helps boost your memory and brainpower. Nevertheless, oversaturating your brain with new information can also slow it down, so don’t push yourself too hard to achieve your goals.
2 Get Support from Native Speakers
As we mentioned in the introduction, practising a foreign language with a native speaker matters a lot if you want to achieve fluency. However, there are a few other benefits you can get if you start working on your language skills with a native speaker several weeks before the trip:
- You will learn the right pronunciation right away. A native speaker can show you a few tips and tricks on how to sound natural and eliminate your accent.
- Such lessons provide better language immersion. You won’t get a chance to speak your own language but will have to use all your knowledge of grammar and vocabulary to explain yourself.
Most importantly, native speakers will help you familiarize yourself with their culture. For example, if you take Japanese classes before going to Japan, your tutor can also explain some of the dos and don’ts to avoid, such as wearing shoes indoors, which is normal in American culture.
So, apart from helping you learn a new language and feel comfortable using it, classes with a native speaker can also prepare you for the trip.
3 Plan Activities that Involve Meeting New People
As much as you don’t want to leave your comfort zone (it’s incredibly hard, for sure), you will have to force yourself out of it to learn a new language properly. Also, according to positive psychology, leaving your comfort zone is a prerequisite for successful growth.
Indeed, if it’s hard for you to meet new people in your own country, it will be twice as hard abroad. However, if you want to achieve success with language learning, you’ll have to include activities in your trip that include getting to know more people.
Here are some examples of such activities:
- Volunteering in a local community
- Sign up for a class teaching local cuisine
- Go to a market to browse for exotic goods
- Join a hiking group
- Get a part-time job (if it’s legal according to your visa status)
However, make sure that the places you go to are safe for you. Every city around the world has bad neighbourhoods. So, research the places you go to before planning such activities. You can also ask for recommendations at your hotel or from a native speaker who helps you learn a new language.
4 Hire a Guide
Finally, if you want to practice and improve your foreign language skills and enjoy your time abroad, why not hire someone who can guide you through the most amazing local experiences?
One great perk of hiring a local guide is that they give you access to places you would otherwise miss. They know the history of those places and can even get you a discount since they often work with specialized services. You can also join them on a road trip to different destinations around your place of a visit, which are usually not included in the main route for tourists.
It’s also a nice opportunity to practice a foreign language with a local. However, make sure that the guide at least speaks English – you might still need to ask a few questions, which you won’t be able to do in a foreign language if you don’t know enough words.
Over to You
As you can see, it is possible to learn a new language while travelling. It’s a fun way to master something new while also having fun exploring a different country.
You still need to get ready, though. Make a learning plan and get help from a native speaker to solidify your skills before the journey. Don’t forget to plan activities involving meeting and socializing with new people. Also, consider hiring a guide with whom you’ll be practising a new language.
Interested in more articles like this? Make sure to explore our blog – we have many helpful posts there.