Living abroad is without a doubt one of the best ways to learn a foreign language. You see it every day on signposts or in the supermarket and hear it being spoken around you on television or even sitting on the bus.
However, some people live in a country for years and never learn the language, so don’t expect that just by staying somewhere for a while you will automatically pick up the language without trying.
So, what are the best ways to make the most of living abroad as a language learning experience?
First of all, make sure that you have a good dictionary application installed on your phone so that wherever you are you can conveniently look up any new words you come across. Read signs and flyers, translate the menu while you’re waiting for your meal to arrive. Anything that gets you into the mindset of your target language.
Secondly, force yourself to talk. This may seem very daunting at first, but keep trying and your confidence will quickly grow. Chat to as many people as you can every day, even if it’s just to say hello to a stranger in the street. Taking a taxi is a great way to get in some extra practice as the driver will normally be more than happy for a bit of conversation to fill the time.
Visit places where local people go to socialise and try to make friends. Join a club or a sports team and try to integrate yourself into the community as much as possible.
You can also make the most of living abroad by listening to the radio and watching television. You might not understand everything but it will help you to improve your accent and pronunciation and speak like a true local!
Want more about learning a foreign language? Get more tips here: Language Learning Tips
About the Author
Natalie Saunders is a freelance writer and translator living in China. Besides being a language learner, she has spent much of her time abroad as an EFL teacher.
Want to learn English?
Are you learning English? Here's how to learn with Shane English School.