Studying abroad is one of the most exciting and life-changing experiences a student can ever have. Everyone dreams to travel around the world. Students get a chance to do something more than travelling: experience other cultures and gain top-quality education along the way.
One of the greatest advantages of studying abroad is learning a foreign language. However, that’s a huge challenge, too. German, for example, is frightening because of the long words. French may confuse you because of the specific syntax structures. Whatever language you decide to learn, it will take some time and a lot of effort before you master it.
The Challenge: How to Learn a Language ASAP?
When you intend to start studying abroad, however, you don’t have much time. Education is always linked to academic writing, which will give you a lot of trouble if you don’t master the language. Sure, you can always rely on services like AustralianWritings if you need help with essays written in English, but what happens when you focus on learning another language? Maybe you’ll find similar online writing services with writers who speak that language, but guess what: you’ll still have to learn it.
If you were going on a vacation to Germany, you would get by if you knew how to order food and ask about prices. When you’re going to study abroad, you have to achieve fluency before you even get there. The good thing is: that the goal is possible. You just need to stay committed and find the right approach. Speaking of approach, we’re going to suggest different techniques that will help you learn a language fast.
Practical Tips: Learning a Foreign Language with Greater Speed and Efficiency
Adrianne, a U.S. student in France, has an important tip for all students who plan to study abroad: live in that country before you start studying there. “I spent summer in France before I started my studies at Sorbonne. I know I sound like a snob, but guess what: I didn’t spend too much money because I was there on a language course. Immersion is everything. When you become a part of that culture and listen to the language everywhere you turn, you start speaking it. I never thought I could learn French in three months, but that’s exactly what happened.”
So let’s say you plan to study in Germany. You’ll have to learn that language somehow, and you’ll probably think of a language course in your own country. That’s okay, but it doesn’t give you the level of immersion you get when you’re in Germany. If you can’t afford to travel there before you start your studies, there are other ways to connect with natives:
- WeSpeke, busuu, HiNative, and similar apps and online services allow you to connect with native speakers. As it turns out, you can do that without travelling.
- Search for Facebook groups focused on the language you’re trying to learn.
- Use Skype. You can easily find contacts from the target country. You can teach them something about your language and they can return the favor. Talking through video conferences is better than communicating in written form, for an obvious reason: practicing pronunciation.
- Focus on Context
There will be plenty of time for you to learn how to order food and get around with public transport in the foreign country. It will be easy to learn those aspects of the language when you get there. Before you start with the studies, you need to focus on context. Why exactly do you need this language? – To understand the lectures, write papers, and take exams. That’s why you’ll need to focus on the academic context.
- When you have a decent grammar and vocabulary foundation, which you’ll obtain through beginner and intermediate courses, you should try translating some relevant lectures from your native language to the language you want to learn. This will be a hard thing to do, but you’ll get better with practice. It’s easy to find online materials that you can translate.
- Search for academic studies and lectures written in the foreign language. Read them! Watch at least one educational video per day. Of course, the video should be on the foreign language, and it should be on a topic related to your future studies.
- Have a Schedule. Learn Something Every Day
We contacted Spiros, a student from Greece who went to study in Germany. “I had no idea how to speak German when I decided I wanted to study there. However, I was very committed to this goal and I studied every single day. I used Google Calendar to create a schedule, and that was my main activity: learn some grammar and at least 10 words every single day, and practice what I already know. This method helped me learn enough of the language to handle the studies.”
Spiros gave a nice advice. You can really learn a language fast if you immerse in the environment and culture of the target country, but that’s not the only thing you need to do. Create your own schedule and stick to it. Here are few things you can do every day:
- Watch a TV show in the foreign language.
- Go through a grammar lesson.
- Learn few new words.
- Create your own sentences based on the things you just learned (grammar and vocabulary).
- Read a lecture in the target language.
- Write something. It can be a diary entry, blog post, or an essay. If you have enough time, then definitely write an essay because you’ll be writing plenty of those when you start studying.
Focus! You’ll Make It!
You’re learning a foreign language not because you have to, but because you want to. And when you have will to achieve something, you’ll find the way to do it. Instead of using the traditional methods for learning a foreign language, you can try implementing the above-listed tips into practice. You’ll be ready to face the challenge of learning abroad!
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