Learn the Language

One of the greatest benefits to studying abroad is learning a second or third language.  Here are some helpful tips to learning a second language:

  • Learn something new every day; a word, phrase, expression or question.
  • Take advantage of free literacy.  Find an old book, newspaper, flyer or magazine to read.  Reading in a foreign language will help you to recognize verb tenses and build your vocabulary.
  • Watch television in the foreign language, concentrate on hearing and recognizing how words are pronounced.
  • Strike up conversations with people; on the bus, on the street, in a café, at the park—practice using the language as much as possible.
  • Make friends with locals.  In most countries people are required to take English courses in school, speak to them in their language and have them practice their English with you, you will be amazed to find how eager Internationals are to practice their English.
  • Don’t be scared or embarrassed to speak, the more you do the more you will improve.
  • Don’t always speak English when you are with other Americans, practice speaking among yourselves in the foreign language to help each other improve.
  • If you are having a lot of difficulties communicating with someone, think of it like charades, use gestures and be creative.



3 thoughts on “Learn the Language

  1. Jessie Kohn

    I find the biggest challenge to overcome for international students is not falling into the trap of talking their native language when with their friends from home. It’s easy to talk the foreign language when you’re forced to in school or in a store, but it’s the continuation of that foreign language practice with your home friends that we’ll make you a better foreign language speaker! Personally, from day one, I’ve made myself a steadfast commitment to refuse to talk english to a friend, even if they start talking English to me. Fortunately I’ve found out through experience that although some of my friends might be initially inclined to talk English to me, as soon as they hear me talk Spanish, they switch over to talking Spanish as well. =)

  2. Jessie Kohn

    – I love it. The professors at my International School are really expters at what they do. They’ve fine-tuned their pedagogy to teach International students in the most efficient way. Since most of the students studying there are Americans, the professors have especially arranged a big part of their instruction method to adapt to our needs. Right off the bat in my trimester course, we started off by reviewing an area that they knew we had trouble with. It seems like from their years of experience, the professors know exactly where our weaknesses are, and that’s where they put in the most emphasis in teaching us. This makes me feel like not a single second is wasted and I love it! =)

  3. Dr. P.

    That is so encouraging to know Jessie! We are looking to send a couple more students there and I will be directing them to contact you. Thanks again for posting.

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