Learning a new language after moving abroad can be one of the most challenging aspects of starting out in a new country. It’s also one of the most crucial aspects of succeeding in your new environment, which means that as much as might want to, you can’t avoid it.
Luckily, learning a new language, even as an adult, is totally doable if you have the right mindset. Of course, having an actual plan of action won’t hurt either. Here are 6 tips to help you learn a new language after moving abroad:
Start learning before you move
Don’t wait till you get off the plane to start learning; start before. Way before. When you start learning the language before you move, you’ll find that other tasks become easier. For example, you’ll be able to communicate with international moving services; you’ll be able to buy international moving insurance without breaking your teeth; you’ll be able to get off the plane and order a cab. And how can you start learning before you move? Get an app. Fortunately, there are plenty of language learning apps to choose from; this list is a good place to start.
Try to speak with locals, not just with other expats
After you’ve settled into your new home, it can be easy to seek out friendship with other expats and English-speakers. And while it’s important to have friends you feel comfortable with, it’s also important to seek out locals and have conversations with them. Because even if you’ve been learning the language for months, there’s nothing quite like conversing with locals, hearing their idioms and learning how the language reflects their culture. Having conversations every day, and even seeking out friendships, can boost your knowledge of the language.
Take a course to help you get the basics down
While having conversations with locals will certainly get you speaking the language fast, taking a language course will complement your real-world experience; plus, it can teach you rules of grammar and conjugation that you may not catch in everyday chitchat. If you take a course and make sure to have interactions in the local language, you’ll have both formal and informal learning covered.
Make an effort to speak the language as much as possible
As we said, it’s so much easier to make friends with other expats and people who speak your language. But it won’t help you when it comes to learning a new language! So make sure to seek out opportunities to speak the new language as much as possible, even if you think your accent is funny and even if your grammar isn’t perfect. The more you speak, the more fluent you’ll become.
Give yourself homework and make deadlines
If learning the language is really important to you, why not treat it as real homework and give yourself assignments? Deadlines can be a great way of measuring your headway and keeping your progress on track.
Enjoy the beauty of learning a new language
Moving abroad and learning a new language can be stressful; but it can also be fun, exciting, eye-opening, and refreshing. While deadlines might work to help you with vocabulary and grammar, actually enjoying the language will keep you motivated for the long haul.
Whether you’re moving abroad on your own or with your family, make sure to prepare for the actual move and for encountering a new culture. Learning the local language is certainly the best gift you can give yourself, so whichever tips work for you, stick with them until you’ve reached the level you aspire to.