Learning a new language is exciting but gets more challenging as we grow older. Children have an easier time learning new languages and that is a natural instinct. Contrary to what many people think, it is not like studying for an exam. Learning a new language is not just about grammar. It is about learning a whole new culture.
There are many effective ways to learn a language abroad that are more interactive like the use of spaced repetition software or complete immersion. Foreign language immersion programs are one of the most effective ways to learn a language abroad. However, there are pros and cons of learning a foreign language, whether you do so abroad or via software.
Four tactics to learn a language abroad and their pros and cons
Tutor / one-on-one
This is one of the best ways to learn a language abroad. Using a tutor will help you not only learn a new language but a new culture through personalized teaching. It is a perfect alternative for individuals with busy or inconsistent schedules since tutors will often meet you for sessions.
The pros of using a tutor are endless and include targeted linguistic needs, increased opportunity to speak the language, specialized teaching opportunities. You are in total control of what you learn.
The downside of using a tutor is that you lose the group dynamic and the ability to learn from peers.
Studying a language abroad at a specialized language school or academy is also incredibly effective because these institutions are typically experts at what they do.
These programs place a high emphasis on speaking skills and provide less history and theory lessons. They are in the business of teaching practical language skills with a heavy emphasis on oral, written, and listening abilities in a foreign language.
Class schedules are usually more flexible than programs that last weeks to an entire year. The idea of language programs abroad is to give you the ability to live life in the foreign culture you are learning.
Although incredibly effective, your host country may not accept transfer credits from this institution. Also, it can be a revolving door of new peers due to the inflow of new students joining the program.
Foreign host family
Learning a foreign language and building long term relationships with a host family is a great way to immerse oneself into a new culture. This is the ultimate immersion experience because you are able to experience the language, food, culture, and other nuances that are not always shown in public. Your exposure to niche phrases and expressions that may not be presented in the classroom will get you fluent in no time.
The downside of staying with a host family is that it can be a risk and will require some adjustment to live peacefully and comfortably.
You’ve probably heard of or seen advertisements to teach English in China or somewhere overseas. Maybe you have the opportunity to work in a foreign country for an extended period of time. Either way, it is a great way to become immersed in a foreign culture due to the vast opportunities to learn from and with your peers, that you work with. It’s inevitable that you will come across a local language, culture, and customs.
By immersing yourself in the local culture, you’ll be able to better connect with your students, colleagues, and find new friends.
The downside of working abroad is that you will spend a lot of time speaking your native language. Also, if you’re not motivated to learn a new language, you may not become too familiar.
In order to learn a foreign language quickly, you should value fluency over accuracy. This means you want to be able to use the language with ease in real time. Recognize that you may mispronounce words or phrases, and that’s ok. Having the ability to express yourself in a foreign context is the most important part of learning a new language. These study abroad language options are the most immersive and effective ways to accomplish this.
What programs have you used and how effective were they? We’d love to hear your stories of learning a new language abroad on our Facebook page.
For more information about our health and lifestyle products and to find a suitable plan for you and your family, learn more and get a quote here.