It always sounds like a good idea to further your studies, particularly overseas, until you are faced with the challenge of language barriers. Whether the language in question is a little familiar to you or completely new, you must have a plan set for improving your language skills.
While the excitement to pick on language can catch up with you, as an adult, it is not a simple thing to ‘pick and learn’ language like it would be for a toddler. Since the target language can be pretty hard to master even for a sharp student if you have any chance of improving your language skills while abroad, here are a couple of ways you can get started:
Focus on the basics of the language
The process of learning language takes time, and as an adult, it could take a lot longer than for kids. So, instead of channeling all your effort on doing an entire presentation in a foreign language, concentrate on the basic grammar, like greetings, asking for directions, ordering pizza over the phone, among others.
Be lenient with yourself through the process of learning. Your goal should not be so much on speaking the language but on hearing and understanding. Once you can easily take orders in the foreign language, master jokes, and other things without needing a dictionary or a translator, then you are on the right track.
Capitalize on online resources
The internet is such a rich library of information in all fields, as well as language. There are a lot of language-learning resources that could benefit you, with translations and interpretations to your rescue.
For example, instead of listening to a news video clip in your language, try one in the target language. The best part with online resources is that they have extensive coverage, in that you can even test the depth of your comprehension in improving your language skills. You can indulge in a Basic Skills Test, or even download a language-learning application that can give you a few pointers, right from your smartphone or laptop.
Interact with foreigners instead of fellow travelers
more often than not, people traveling to other countries find comfort in forming networks with fellow countrymen. While this may be a great way to preserve your original culture, it will stand in the way of your improving your language skills.
Instead, create a circle of friends and peers of the foreign country, where you are better off in picking up a couple of terms in the target language. When hanging out, say, over brunch, listen to how they make jokes, order food, among other little details. The best thing about this approach is that you will associate the learning of language with fun, which will make it a lot easier for you to improve your language skills.
Learn through music
Fortunately, learning a language can be very fun, if you let it. Instead of approaching language as another coursework you have to study for, try changing up your playlist. Find music in the target language from your favorite genre of music, then spend time listening to them.
Improving your language skills through music is a lot easier because you engage more of your senses, without getting bored. Try learning the lyrics word for word, while mastering the accents and pronunciation as you sing along.
You can decide to take it a step further by including other media in your learning process. For example, you can indulge in Netflix and chill with reruns of your favorite series in the target language.
Learn in chunks
The problem with most people trying to iron their language skills is trying to master one vocabulary at a time. This approach could take you ages before you can even understand what people are saying. Ideally, one word could take a different meaning in different sentence structures and contexts, which might be a setback in your efforts to acquiring a new language.
Instead, you determine to learn the language in chunks and phrases. Master commentaries by people from TV shows, class sessions and within your circles, and further, hold on to patterns that connect vocabulary to grammar. The best shot you have to speed up your language skills is to avoid direct translations and instead choose to focus on meanings as per the contexts of the words spoken or written.
Appreciate the culture equally as you do the language
Language and culture are two intertwined concepts that, when understood this way, can have a significant impact on the language-learning process. Take time to immerse yourself in the culture associated with the target language, so you have a different view of the world altogether. This includes ordering different foods on the menu, trying out various activities and expanding your mindset entirely.
Learning a language can be very difficult for pretty much anyone. Remember to be patient with yourself as you improve your language skills.