5 Tips for Learning a New Language During Study Abroad

August 10, 2017

Foreign language skills are incredibly valuable in today’s job market, and international study abroad is one of the best ways to immerse yourself in the language of your choosing. Here are a few tips that can help you get the most of your language immersion experience.

Learning a new language can be challenging, and if you participate in international study abroad, you are giving yourself the best possible tools for language fluency. However, it is very possible to thwart your own efforts by failing to rid yourself of your old habits. Here are some tips for helping you absorb the language of your host country efficiently and effectively.

1. Listen to music in the local language

American music is popular the world over, so it is very easy to allow yourself to only listen to the songs and artists you are already familiar with. However, this can interrupt your language immersion process without you even realizing it.

Do your best to surround yourself with the culture of your host country. Find the most popular regional pop artists, and start acquainting yourself with their musical catalogs. Doing so will also help to introduce you to new styles of music while familiarizing yourself with the culture of your host country.

2. Read local newspapers and magazines

Of course, you’ll have your textbooks and recommended reading materials, but if you start using local magazines and newspapers as your primary sources of information, you’ll force yourself to become more proficient with the local language out of necessity.

You might also consider reading translations of books you’ve already read in English. Since you will already know the plot, you’ll be able to navigate the linguistic intricacies more easily than you would if you were reading something entirely new to you. Another tip: Read out loud. You’ll strengthen your pronunciation and better absorb the information.

3. Speak the local language with native speakers as much as you can

Sometimes, it can be difficult to speak a local language without resorting to English in frustration (you’ll probably discover that many of the locals speak excellent English), but try to stick to the host language if you can. Even if the person you’re speaking to responds to you in English, keep speaking the host language anyway. Your partner in conversation might be a bit taken aback, but they’ll probably help you with your grammar and fluidity.

4. Set your devices to the host language

If you spend your time sending texts in English, or surfing the internet in English, you’re robbing yourself of the opportunity to truly immerse yourself in the new language.

5. Write down new words and phrases

Certain phrases might be difficult for you to remember; make sure you keep a notebook with you at all times so you can jot down useful or complex phrases so you can reference them later. If you become used to saying something incorrectly, your mistake can be hard to unlearn. Writing the correct phrase down reminds you of the correct structure, and helps keep it fresh in your mind.

No matter what languages you choose to study during your international study abroad, staying diligent about your language immersion and speaking to native speakers in nonclassroom settings can help significantly increase your proficiency and confidence.

ISEP helps to introduce students to a diverse network of cultures, languages and customs through its wide variety of international study abroad opportunities.

To find the best international study abroad program for your needs, please visit our program search to begin your journey.

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