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. I have traveled 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, and have found out what works and what doesn’t work for me and which way is the best to learn a foreign language.
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.
My 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?”, “How do I get to”, “What’s the time?” etc.
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 a 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.
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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.