Moving abroad has its beauty and challenges, one of these is for sure learning the local language. Some countries are kind of bilingual, so you can also survive even without speaking the local language – such as The Netherlands, where people here have a very high English level. The question comes naturally: do you want to survive in this country or do you want to actually become part of it?
Learning the language can be sometimes a challenge, but it’s for sure fun and brings a lot of benefits. For example, being able to go through all kinds of bureaucratic situations, don’t feel lost if someone in the street starts talking to you, making new friends and expand your network. Here are some tips to make you learn a new language faster.
Tutors and Standard Lessons
Yes, the classic and most used method, but very efficient. There are a lot of schools, associations, and organizations which organize language courses for all kind of levels. Sometimes even companies provide this as a benefit. There are also platforms, such as Italki, where you can set up lessons through Skype and based on your personal learning goals. You can also gather information at the municipality since sometimes they also offer courses to ex-pats to help them to settle down.
Choose the App
This is the handiest method ever. You can download the app on your phone and start practising any time you want. Are you sitting in the train? Waiting for a friend or for a new lesson to start? Pick your phone up and learn the language. It really helps to train your brain, learn new words and be on track with your learning schedule even when it’s crazy busy. Try out Duolingo or MemRise, set your goals and get started!
“How can I watch a movie and understand what’s happening if I still consider myself a beginner?”. This is exactly what you are thinking right now. Guess what? Give it a try and even 2 if necessary! It may seem difficult at the beginning, but our mind works much better than what we think. Images and moves make it easier to understand what’s happening, you can relate scenes to words and learn from that. Plus, our listening skills need this as well. By listening our knowledge increases and expand, even if you think you are not understanding everything you hear. You can also use subtitle, but bear in mind that these should be in the same language you are learning, otherwise you’ll start reading the language most familiar to you and learn almost nothing further.
We’ve got everything we need to train our listening and writing skills, but what about speaking? This is for sure a very important part of the learning process, for this reason, you need to have also face to face conversations. Nowadays, there are a lot of groups and meetups organized locally with the aim to help each other. Look for them on Google or even directly on Facebook, you’ll be surprised by how many of them are out there. Next to learning the language, you have the chance to meet beautiful people from other countries as well.
Reading books is the last but not least tip you can use when you’re more confident with the new language. When I read my first book in an other language, I was so eager that I wanted to understand every single word, so I had to look them up on the dictionary…. By doing so my enthusiasm faded away little by little, because I did not enjoy the reading as I was too busy using the dictionary. So, once I knew a bit more about the language I gave it a try again and promised not to look up for all the words I didn’t know the meaning of, as long as I could understand the story and the context. Guess what? It went much better after that, and I got more and more fluent, and proud of myself too.
Are you curious to know what other people think about learning the local language? Teacher Filipovska-Bozinovska conducted a survey on this topic. Now it’s up to you: Go, try it and succeed!
The Expat Magazine is an online community made of expats and travellers who write and share tips, news and experiences to help you travel and live abroad.