Top 10 Tips for Learning a Foreign Language
Traveling around the world offers some of the most outstanding and unique experiences. You will see beautiful places, make new friends and get acquainted with a new culture each time. The experience of traveling is majestic indeed, but many people confront themselves with a huge barrier when traveling: language.
If you do not know at least the most basis phrases in the language of the respective country, you will find it difficult to communicate. Keep in mind that not everybody speaks English for example. If you travel to Portugal, it would be nice to have minimum language skills in Portuguese. If you plan on spending some time in France - such as studying or taking a vacation, you should definitely learn French. So what are the best ways to improve your foreign language skills? Wether you are looking to learn English, Spanish, Portuguese, French or another language check out our top 10 tips to best learn a new language (or improve your language skills/level)...
1. Book a Language Course
There are language courses available to book in most countries worldwide and there is so much choice! From beginners, all the way to advanced and technical courses you can be sure to find a course to match your preffered language and skill level. Learning in a class is also a lot of fun as you will get to meet other people also keen to practise.
2. Learn Online
You could buy an online language course like Rosetta Stone, this is a flexible way to learn at your own pace from anywhere around the world. As long as you have a computer, tablet or phone you will be able to have the chance to learn. You might also like to try apps, podcasts and websites like YouTube which is a totally free way to learn a language.
3. Make Friends
Try to meet people who speak your target language, practising with native speakers is the quickest and best way to learn.
4. Watch TV shows & Movies in the Target Language
One of the best ways to get efficient exposure to the new language is to watch TV shows, video clips and full length movies in the new language you are learning. At first, it will sound quite awkward, and you will not understand too much. However, your brain is a huge sponge capable of “picking” up new phrases, words, expressions and even the native accent of the respective language. The experience of watching movies and shows basically resembles the kind of exposure you would get while living in that respective country and hearing native people speak.
5. Try to “THINK” in the Host Language
Once you have learned the basics of the new language, you should start thinking in the respective language. This is a more complex process, but it will help you assimilate language much better. Thinking in that language will also help you talk faster and better, without making any translations in your mind from your native to the foreign language. You will just be able to speak in an uninterrupted, smooth manner. Words will just flow out of your mouth, once you learn to think in the language that you actually want to speak.
6. Talking out Loud…to Yourself
No, this shouldn’t be awkward. Yet another great way of improving your language skills is to start talking out loud while you are alone. Help your brain get acquainted to the new way you utter words and phrases in a new language. Also, this will help you practice your pronunciation, and before starting to speak to other people everything will become less awkward. Take any length of text and read it out loud, try to find movies with subtitles in the target language and read them loud, or even imitate the accent of news casters in the target language.
7. Expand your Vocabulary
Yes, books and glossy magazines can indeed help you learn the language quite fast. Some magazines contain fashion, culinary, or general culture related articles and the texts are usually accompanied by high quality images, and by reading these magazines you will improve language proficiency. Look for quality glossy magazines such as Cosmopolitan or Vogue. For those more adventure oriented, look for National Geographic magazines in the target language or even for local national newspapers. Childrens books are also effective. If you like educational content, you could also try Scholaradvisor.
8. Join a Structured Experience
There are so many opportunities available worldwide like volunteering programs abroad, internships, jobs and also cultural tours which are different to your standard language courses and allow you cultural immersion with the added benefit of improving your language skills.
9. Study Abroad
Being dedicated and practising everyday is one way to quickly learn. Depending on how much effort you put in will really relate to how quickly you learn. You could also apply to study abroad and learn a new language in your spare time. There are language courses located around the world, popular options include:
- Study Portuguese in Brazil
- Study Russian in Russia
- Study Thai in Thailand
- Study Spanish in Spain
- Study Spanish in South America
10. Live Abroad
One of the best ways to properly learn, and not give you any excuses not to pracise is to move abroad to a foreign speaking country. You will get to practise and learn everyday.
Learning a new language is fascinating, especially if you are going to travel to the host country. Take your time at least 3 to 6 months in advance to study the new language a little bit. By the time you visit the country, you will already be able to speak well, and this will help you greatly throughout your stay. Improve tour language skills and don’t feel ashamed to open your mouth and speak out loud!