Learning a language in a country where it is spoken seems logical - a good idea, but not without drawbacks. Moving provides more opportunities to speak the language, put into practice new knowledge, communicate with native speakers, but if you come to the country without knowing a word, it will not be so easy to master the language.
Disadvantages of learning a language abroad
Moving to a country where the target language is spoken without any language experience (A1 or lower on the CEFR scale) is a difficult journey. Language immersion is not a magic pill: learning to speak quickly, easily and simply will not work. It's like learning to swim by being thrown into the open sea.
What difficulties await you?
- Moving means successfully meeting basic needs - food, water, housing, visas, insurance, medical appointments, employment, enrollment in schools, courses - and all this from day one. Formal questions are not easy to solve in their native language, and without knowledge of the language it is almost impossible.
- In an urgent need / emergency, English (or another common language) can be used as a fallback, but not everyone understands it.
TOP-5 reasons to study a foreign language abroad
- Full language immersion - you will not be able to avoid the subject being studied: you will have to talk to the hotel administration, watch local TV channels, go to the store and ask how much vegetables are on the market. Any interaction with the locals will require knowledge of the language: you will have to expand the vocabulary, memorize words and structures.
- Daily Practice : Even the laziest person will have to practice the language on a daily basis. The big advantage of studying a language abroad is that practice is not like lessons: you just communicate, do your daily activities (ask how to get to the beach, look for where to buy the most delicious local tomatoes).
- New acquaintances - you will get a new environment, make friends. Try to communicate with locals or foreigners who speak the language of your chosen country at a high level. This will sharpen the ear, consolidate the skill of understanding, and give an idea of the culture from the inside.
- You learn to survive in a completely new culture: wherever you go, local life will be different from your home environment. From the first awkward attempt to say hello to your neighbor to finding a grocery store, finding the right bus route, living abroad is fun and challenging. By overcoming everyday problems, you learn the language.
- The story that you learned the language in the country of its existence will embellish your resume : admissions committees of universities, HR managers of international companies are interested in candidates who have demonstrated the ability to independently master the language and adapt to life in a foreign country - this demonstrates adaptability, skill concentrate, willingness to learn new things.
- You are not just learning a foreign language in a foreign country - you are getting to know a new world, a new culture . It's a much deeper journey than just a tour: language reveals a country in a completely different way.
- On the spot, you will learn a living language : slang, abbreviations, speech turns, accent, dialect words of the area where you find yourself.
- A new country and area opens up a new way of life : where you live, there will be traditional local hobbies - dancing, surfing, embroidery, rock climbing, and at least weaving baskets. Immerse yourself in this new hobby - it will enrich your language with professional vocabulary, expand your social circle, and create another reason for language practice. Think of the language in this context: English in Malta + surfing, Canadian French + hiking in the forests of Quebec, Japanese + skiing in Tokyo.
5 tips for those planning to study a language abroad
- Learn the basics : numbers, greetings, question words, introductory phrases. Travel Phrasebooks are great sources of material.
- Take time to practice : study when you want to go out to eat, walk or have a drink. Try to combine a trip to the cafe with a language practice.
- Do not stop at the moment when you can order food, ask where the bathroom is. A poor linguistic repertoire limits your social interaction, understanding of culture and simply worsens your mood - after all, you will not be able to participate in a general conversation, make friends and enjoy communication.
- Choose a place to live and work where you won't be tempted to make friends with migrants who speak your native language.
- Sign up for language courses to help you speak more confidently in everyday life.