Hacks to Learn a Foreign Language FAST- Learning a new language is a tough challenge while traveling, and it can easily get so overwhelming that you finally just give up.
I don’t have a quick fix to learn a foreign language, there are no magic pills.
Traveling on business to many countries and being able to communicate, even at a simple level, is not only critical for your business, it’s polite.
I have had the opportunity to study many languages.
Through the years, I’ve found out what works and what doesn’t work for me and which way is the best to learn a foreign language.
Hacks To learn a foreign language fast you need 3 things:
Interest, courage and a situation that forces you to learn.
If you’re not interested in learning you’ll never learn no matter how much someone tries to encourage you.
But most importantly, you have to have some guts.
I honestly believe that most of the people are simply too shy and too afraid of making a mistake, that they don’t even bother trying.
Add a No Option Situation, and you’ll be guaranteed to learn fast!
I’ve used translation services when traveling to Central and South America both for business and personal needs while in country, and also prior.
A fellow business acquaintance has had great success using a company to translate and proofread for cultural and grammatical correctness, but nothing compares to learning Spanish and some of the culture yourself.
The No Option Way
We are phenomenal at finding ways to avoid complicated things, and it’s not until there is no other option, not until you’re actually forced to learn – that you will really get it.
That’s why you need to create this situation for yourself.
The absolute best situation to put yourself in is in the country where they speak the language you want to learn, in a place where everyone will speak to you in that language and most people barely understand English at all.
This works even better when you are traveling alone.
Germany, China, France, Italy are good examples of this.
Surround yourself with the language, completely immerse yourself in it – if everything you see and hear is in that language you will learn faster – simply because you have no other choice.
3 Best Ways to Learn a Language:
Find a practice buddy
Is there someone you know who also wants to learn the language?
Do it together, and practice with each other.
Do the same language course, go out together and help each other.
Be aware though, if you are close friends, it is very easy to give up and just start speaking your native language.
Go out and meet local people
You don’t have to be fluent in a language before you can talk to someone.
Practice a few phrases, even write them down on a piece of paper, go down to town and practice them with people in the shop or on the streets.
Ask them relevant things, like “How much is this?” “What is the time?”
If you already know the answer that’s great.
It’s a way to learn how to say it.
Nightclubs and pubs can also be a place to practice your language.
There, people are already open and happy, and you can make a fun thing about it.
Try to say a few things in their language, and then mix with your own etc.
Often people find it a lot of fun teaching someone words and sentences.
Perhaps they will teach you a few words you normally wouldn’t learn in language teaching books (come on, you know what I’m talking about!) 😉
Don’t be scared to mix English and the local language.
If there is one word in the sentence that you have no idea how to say, then say everything else in the sentence and simply say that word in English.
Chances are that they know that word in English, and can inform you of the real word, or just simply reply to your question.
Nobody thinks it’s strange; they understand.
Hang out with an English speaking local
If you don’t want to force yourself totally yet and ONLY hang out with people who can’t speak English at all, then try something in between until you feel more confident.
Hang out with someone who speaks both English and the language you want to learn, and meet their friends.
Watch and learn, body language goes a long way in communication.
When you don’t understand you have your friend who can explain to you.
Ensure e-learning success by using the Internet to learn.
Well there are a few tips to get you started on the road to language learning.
There are many language courses and books to learn foreign language fast out there, but the truth is that if you really want to learn a language, learn from the people who speak it and interact with them in real life on a daily basis.
Quick Guide to Learning a Language Abroad
Conversation is crucial for language development and mastery – the importance of conversation is something that those studying child development have known for years but it’s something that learners of second languagesoften forget.
Even those who are looking to immerse themselves in a language and have opted to learn German in Germany, for example, often fail to take advantage of the many opportunities to talk to locals that exist outside the classroom.
Here is a guide to getting out there, making the most of your travels and speaking to the locals so you too can talk like a local.
Learning A Language Abroad – Don’t Be Shy
The best way to perfect your language skills is by using them, so try and overcome your inhibitions and start conversations with locals when you travel – you will not only pick up new words and phrases but also invaluable listening skills and many new friends.
Here are some useful tips to help you start conversations and keep them flowing smoothly:
Don’t be afraid – ask people to speak slowly and clearly.
Always seek clarification if you do not understand – rephrase what you have heard to make sure you have understood correctly.
Carry a pen – a picture speaks a thousand words and you can ask for words you do not understand to be written down.
Learn to look out for the non-verbal communication – and use exaggerated actions yourself if you’re struggling to find the right word.
Of course, if English is your first language just getting people to stop speaking to you in English is the first barrier to overcome.
Here are some tips to achieve this:
Get off the tourist trail – you will find people are more comfortable speaking just the local language away from the tourist sites.
Just ask – explain you want to learn their language and would be happier if you used it as much as possible.
Avoid always reverting to English if you get stuck – use gestures, drawings or similar words to prompt your partner to supply the right one.
Be expressive – if you feel your speech is slow you can retain a listener’s interest through changes in your tone of voice and the use of your face, hands, arms and body.
Be fair – if people wish to practice their English suggest having some conversations in their language and then some in English.
Taking a language course abroad or Language Travel is a great way to travel and learn a language.
However, here are some other ways you can ensure you get those conversations started and meet locals abroad:
Couchsurfing is a great site for looking for and arranging meet-ups with locals who will gladly show you around and provide conversational partners.
The Ghetto Gourmet (theghet.com) lists places all over the world where strangers get together and eat dinner at someone’s home.
Meetup.com is another great site for meeting locals with an interest or hobby that you share.
Finally the Travel Blog Exchange (travelblogexchange.com) lists travel bloggers from all over the world who are exactly the sort of people who could show other travelers around and share some conversations along the way.
The successful language learner needs to lose their reservations and start making those conversations
Learn a Language on your Next Trip
A trip can be a very good reason to learn a language, and learning a language can also be a great reason to start planning your next trip.
Plan for e-Learning success and enjoy your vacation that much more.
Maybe you are planning a study exchange programme.
While you are earning your degree, be sure to try to learn the native language.
Studying a language is something that doesn’t only require theoretical studying, but also practical, and so, we shouldn’t just limit our learning to sitting down with a class book for hours on end.
The process is more dynamic than that, and has to include speaking with others, having fun with the new sounds, applying the new knowledge to our daily life, making it more natural, embracing a new culture behind the language, and planning our future by taking this language into account.
When taking French lessons, Leicester students are aware that this is the only way to truly understand a language, and also the most effective way, regardless of how ‘difficult’ the foreign language we’ve chosen may be.
If you’re already abroad, it’s the perfect time to put in practice everything you’ve learned.
You might be afraid you will practice too much and miss all the fun and the ‘practical experience’ side of your longed-for trip, but it’s the exact opposite.
Start a Conversation with Locals
Locals are usually friendly with foreign people, sometimes even more than they are with one another!
This is probably so because even though they might be in a rush mood because of the city’s pace, when they meet a traveler they find something different for a change.
Traveler’s are in a sort of naïve, exploring mood… and as they are enjoying their trip and discovering new things, they are always in a good mood, and interested in your culture.
Have you ever met a traveler on the street?
Have you noticed how you are automatically over-friendly?
Locals always love finding out a foreigner takes an interest in their culture.
Put your Ear to Test
We wouldn’t normally suggest that you overhear other people’s conversations because it’s rude.
In this case, however, it could be very useful and there wouldn’t be a bad intention.
When you overhear local conversations, you always learn something new.
It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been learning the language for, you’ll always pick up a new phrase, a new word or a new expression by doing this.
I found when taking Italian courses in London, students really enjoyed traveling to Italy and always carried a notebook around.
You may think you’ll remember these expressions, but sometimes it’s not easy to retain all of them.
You’ll be hearing people speaking all the time.
Besides, it won’t take a lot of your time to write down short expressions or sentences on the road.
Bueno Entonces… Rosetta Stone Meets South Park? = NEW Spanish Course
We were recently sent a new Spanish language course called: “Bueno Entonces…”, which was released by General Linguistics.
With my lacking Spanish knowledge and Nathan’s zero knowledge, we were really keen to try this course and see what it was like.
What Makes It Different?
This course was especially designed for backpackers, study abroad students & expats.
The course is very different from the courses I’m used to.
I’ve tried nearly everything; books, audio tapes, cd’s, kids’ books, classes, computer courses etc.
No matter what I tried I got bored out of my mind, and often found myself drifting out of focus or simply just falling asleep!
But this course IS different from them all – they put a lot of focus on actually making it fun, and I found myself smiling and laughing through-out each episode.
Their purpose is to learn Spanish for the street, not the test, and they have succeeded very well in this.
They teach you words and conversations that you’re very likely to use, rather than the typical “I would like to make an order, miss…” type of thing.
I also liked how real the people in the course came out, and how the course circulated around a normal storyline.
The course has a fun, laid back, young attitude, and is a fresh breeze to the dusty language grammar books.
So, what about the grammar?
In every chapter they go through a new grammar rule, although I must say that this area is a little brief.
In the Spanish language they put the words in a quite different order compared to English, and they also use feminine and masculine words.
It’s confusing to remember the feminine and masculine words, but it’s something you’ll learn over time, just like the way the sentences are built.
Learn Curses, Insults and Pick Up Lines
Read more about what you can learn here!
I think we can all remember times when we wish we would have wanted to known a rude sentence to someone in a different language.
Well, in this dictionary you’ll find everything from slightly mean words to really offensive words that I cant mention here….!
As sure as I am that you’ve sometimes wished to tell a sleezy guy (or annoying girl) to bugger off, I’m certain that you’ve wanted to know some a pick up line to say to a hottie in her/his language.
Well, this course offers a 17 page pick up line dictionary as well, with full of fun and sometimes sleezy pick up lines.
How about: “Do you work at FedEx? Because I thought you were looking at my package.”
I must say that I wouldn’t suggest anyone to actually use them, unless they know exactly how to make it come out funny – most likely however, you’ll sound like a jerk.
Knowing these words is good both so that you know what guys actually say to you, but it’s also a more fun way to learn words and how to build sentences.
Learn The Slang
Another thing that I’ve found so difficult when studying language and actually trying to understand the people, is that they often use so many slang words which courses normally never teach.
This course has a whole dictionary of slang words, which I find very useful.
Would I Recommend It?
YES – If you were to take any language course in Spanish – this is the one.
It’s both fun, educational, and you get a lot for your money.