Learning a new language will open up a world of possibilities.
Not only will it enhance your experience of a country it will also be a valuable skill to add to your CV and in a growing global job market, but fluency in more than your native language can also set you apart from the competition.
When you learn a new language whilst travelling you are completely immersed in it and you won’t feel the need to fall back on your English. You can instantly see and enjoy the benefits since you are able to communicate better with the locals around you and they, in turn, can help and encourage you.
You will also learn the cultural aspects of the language, including the slang or local dialects. The more you will learn about this language and its use, the more you can immerse yourself in the culture and customs. You will be able to meet new people and expand your understanding of their culture.
There are many ways to pick up a new language, but none is better than whilst you are travelling, in this article, we will cover how to learn a new language whilst travelling.
1) Studying on your own
Studying a language on your own while your travel is possible. It will give you a little more freedom in how you spend your time and you won’t have the constraints of a class timetable.
You could learn through language books, podcasts or language learning apps. If you want immersion in a language you could volunteer with a local charity, teach English as a foreign language or work as an au pair.
2) Discover Duolingo
This app can really help you experiment with learning a language before you commit to a language school.
The app will take you through 25 levels that are structured to make the user feel like they are playing a game. By dedicating ten or twenty minutes per day to the app you can start to learn the language basics and see if you have a feel for it.
3) Pick a region and a language school
So you’re planning on learning Spanish but don’t know where to go? There are lots of countries that have Spanish as their native language but not all language courses and regional dialects will be the same. It’s important to research your base thoroughly. If you are looking for a Spanish speaking region that is cost effective, then look no further than Bolivia or Guatemala.
Remember that once you have signed up to a language school you will get out of it what you put in. Give yourself the best chance by signing up to intensive classes and do your homework.
4) Find a language partner
Finding a language partner is an ideal way to continue practising outside of class hours. Find someone who really shares your enthusiasm for the language and also who you have shared interests in, so it isn’t always business.
Not only will this help with practicing outside of class hours, but you will also build up confidence in speaking confidently and overcome any embarrassment or worries that might be holding you back from speaking.
This service might be offered by your language school, but don’t worry if it isn’t. Finding someone can be easy and there will be plenty of people in your shoes who are looking for a partner to practise with.
The more hours you put into learning new vocabulary or how to piece together sentences, the better and faster you will progress.
A good tip is to download music in your chosen language, get ahold of the lyrics and sing along. You can break down the words and use your knowledge to understand the lyrics. It’ll also make for a neat party trick when in your native home.
6) Leave the tourist spots behind
It’s time to step outside of your comfort zone.
Push yourself to step outside of the tourist centres and into the local market, cafe or shop, where you will need to use your language skills to get by. It might take you a while to get your lunch order right, but these are the challenges that will help you perfect your language skills.
7) Take part in activities where English isn’t an option
The best way to learn a language is to totally immerse yourself.
By throwing yourself in at the deep end, you will have no choice but to learn quickly. Not only will it help keep you on your toes, but it is also one of the most popular ways of picking up a language.
8) Avoid your own language
Avoiding using your own language will speed up your language learning process.
This will be more difficult if your native language is English but you should still avoid using it and try to communicate in the language you are learning. It’s only natural to want to hang out with other speakers of your language, but try to vary this to those who speak your language and those who don’t.
If you are travelling with a friend practise your language learning together. You could have a rule to only speak in your native language for a few hours a day or challenge each other to use new phrases or ask questions in the language you are learning.
9) Start speaking the language
You need to start speaking the language you are learning. It’s understandable to be hesitant but it is important to put yourself in a position where you will have to try. Don’t avoid situations where you could use the language, actively seek them.
When you start talking more you will build up your confidence in your speaking abilities.
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, take this as an opportunity to ask questions and take advice. Many people will be impressed that you are trying to learn their language and are more than happy to help. Learn from your mistakes and build on this experience.
You’ll start to notice a big difference in your speaking abilities and regularly using a language will help you to practise and learn without feeling like you are studying.
10) Listen to the locals
Take advantage of being in a country which speaks the language you are wishing to study. Listen to the locals, their pronunciations and any slang they use to communicate. By immersing yourself in the language and culture you will slowly start to pick up the language.
When you learn a language whilst travelling the world you can really develop your language skills and gain a new insight into the country and its culture. The biggest benefit is that you are totally immersed in your new language so every day you have the opportunity to listen and speak in your chosen language.
Remember not to fall back on your English but to embrace this opportunity and let go of your inhibitions and explore the country and experiment with its language as much as you possibly can!