To most people, traveling abroad is both exhilarating and sometimes a bit stressful. One big factor that often comes into play when making a voyage to another country is that the country you are visiting may speak a language entirely different from your own.
Most people tend to ignore this and rely on English or simply just hope that they don’t come across a situation that forces them to speak the language of the country. However, there are so many great reasons to put in the time to learn the foreign language of the country you’re traveling to before your trip. Not only will it help you enjoy your trip better, but it will help make it less stressful and much easier to plan.
Believe it or not, learning a language need not be as daunting of a task as some make it out to be. After all, if you can learn your native language, then you can definitely learn a foreign one.
Find Someone Who Will Help You With Conversational Speech
It’s well-known that traditional language-learning methods teach a form of the language that locals understand, but don’t necessarily use themselves. This means that you can spend quite a bit of time learning a given language, only to feel like you haven’t made much progress when it actually comes to using it.
By finding a native-speaker that can help you with conversational speech, you not only have someone who you can directly ask questions, but that can teach you exactly what is used, not what it considered proper or formal. This doesn’t mean that you have to find someone in real life to speak with as there are countless sites that offer users the ability to find virtual pen-pals who want to learn your language as much as you want to learn theirs.
Watch Online Videos With and Without Subtitles
The great thing about the internet is that it’s a global system that allows people from all over the world to publish content for others to consume. Sites like Youtube make it possible for people to publish videos in their own language that anybody can watch.
This is great for someone looking to learn a foreign language because you can not only find a huge number of videos that are meant for language learners, but you can also find videos meant for native speakers of any given language. Once you feel that you’ve exceeded the content specifically created for learners you can move onto the videos made for natives.
A lot of these videos have subtitles uploaded to them both in English and the language of the video which makes it easy for the aspiring learner to follow along. If you’re learning French, this list of French Youtubers contains channels both with and without subtitles.
Learn the Most-Commonly Used Words in Your Target Language
Many language learners often don’t understand that of all the different words that exist in any given language only 2 to 3 thousand of them are used in the overwhelming majority of situations.
This means that if you start your language journey learning just the most commonly-used words you will put yourself on the fast track to understanding locals when they speak to you. There are plenty of websites out there that offer flashcards with the most common words of your target language so getting started with this shouldn’t be too difficult.
Practice Listening and Speaking First, Then Focus on Reading and Writing
One of the biggest mistakes that stops learners from achieving fluency in a foreign language is that they spend too much time trying to read and write before they have some experience listening and speaking. What happens when you do this is that you make a lot of bad habits with your pronunciation because you try to guess how to pronounce a word before you actually hear it in conversation.
Many languages are notorious for having silent letters and other pronunciation quirks that you only learn when you hear how a given word is pronounced. When you start your language learning by listening to how things are pronounced, you make it much easier to pick up reading and writing because you can relate words to ones that you have already heard. This is how everybody learns their first language and this is how you should learn your second.
If you take the above advice into account you should be able to learn enough of your target language before your trip to make it all that much better. Learning a foreign language doesn’t have to be a difficult task, you just have to go about it the right way.