Whether you’re planning a relaxing trip to the white beaches of Mexico or an intense mountain climbing mission in Japan, here are 5 tips to help you keep up with your language goals while abroad!
I’m sure I don’t have to list the benefits of being in the country of your target language. They’re endless! But depending on the amount of time you have, it can be difficult to see the results you desire if you don’t have a good foundation beforehand.
Start by learning the most common 50 - 100 words in the language and a few simple grammar rules. Combine that with some common phrases and BAM! You’ve got a great foundation to start learning when you land.
Just like you plan ahead by buying plane tickets and booking hotels, it’s a good idea to choose the tools you’ll use to study while you travel.
This could be your favorite flashcard apps, websites, videos, or even books.
Of course, you’ll be doing most of your learning by interacting with those around you but it doesn't hurt to have your trusty tools with you to use in your free time.
Remember those phrases you learned earlier? Well, now is the time to put ‘em to use. Try to use the phrases you learned and build simple sentences with the grammar and vocabulary.
While you don’t have to speak to everyone you see, you should definitely try to speak when you have a chance. Like when ordering food, shopping, and if you’re anything like me, asking for directions. :)
If you’re lucky, you may get a native speaker to help you with pronunciation or even a better way to say what you mean. Either way, they’ll appreciate your efforts to speak their language and you’ll feel good knowing you tried.
See or hear a word you don't know? WRITE IT DOWN!
This method is so effective because you’ll start associating that word with a memory, helping you to be able to recall it much easier in the future. And by the time your trip is over, you’ll have loads of new vocabulary words AND memories to go along with them.
In the moments before talking to a complete stranger, it may seem like it’s better to not say anything at all than to make a mistake. But trust me, you will remember your mistakes a lot longer than your perfect conversations. And that’s exactly what you need!
You WANT to remember those mistakes because when you do, the chances of you making those mistakes again are very low.
Think of it this way. Learning a language is a bit like cooking an egg. You have to ‘break the shell’ before you get to the good part. And the only way you can ‘break the shell’ is by getting out there and making some mistakes!
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