Why Learn a Language Abroad?

As a translation company, we love languages and our love of language comes from learning it in the first place. We all have fond (or maybe not so fond) memories of learning modern languages at school and with study holidays for AS and A-Level students on the rise, we thought we’d take a closer look at the benefits of learning a language abroad.

It’s all about the confidence

Do you get shy when you have to speak in a foreign language? Are you nervous you’re going to make a mistake or not be understood because of your accent? If you’ve made the first step and booked a language holiday then it’s time to let go of any insecurities you may have. When you join a language school, you have to take a placement test so the head of studies can put you in the right class for your ability. What does that mean? It means that everyone in your class will be in the same boat as you: you will all have similar abilities so you don’t have to worry about peer pressure or not feeling up to par. Think of the classroom as your “safe space” to make mistakes and practise your lingo before trying it out on the real world.

Prick up your ears

Outside the classroom environment, one thing you may encounter is “locals who speak too quickly”. It’s a common worry among non-native speakers who are concerned they won’t grasp everything that they hear and won’t be able to reply properly. This is the perfect opportunity to get used to the pitch, tone and rhythm of native speech; it will help you “hear” what they say better and you will pick up their accent along the way. Whilst you’re learning a language abroad, it’s always a great idea to have the local radio on in the background or watch the news on TV to help improve your listening skills even more and learn new words. If in doubt, you can always ask the locals to speak a little slower. They will be pleased you’re conversing with them in their own language!

Open your mind

When you spend time in a different country for a certain amount of time, you are bound to experience some form of culture shock. That’s especially true of a language holiday abroad where you’re completely immersed in another country and its culture. Just take the midday cappuccino curfew in Italy and the French kissing each other to say hello whether they know each other or not. Although it may take time to get used to and you may still find elements of your new culture disconcerting, just going with the flow will show you how adaptable you are and how you can tackle anything outside your comfort zone. It also gives you a better understanding of the country you’re in and helps break down any misconceptions you may have about the local culture.

Practice makes perfect

This is where a language holiday really differs from being in an online classroom or on a training course at work: there’s no escape from using the language. When you leave the online classroom or your training course at work, you chat in English with your friends or colleagues, listen to the news in English, go to English shops, order food in English and so on. When you step out of your language school onto the pavement, you’re surrounded by street signs and shopfronts in a different language, everyone around you is talking a different language, you have to read product information in a different language in the shops, order your coffee or lunch in a different language and so on. You really are immersed in the local language and culture so you HAVE to use your language skills if you want to get by. It gives you a real boost knowing that you can cope beautifully in your everyday life in a language that isn’t your mother tongue.

The hard part…

The hard part is finding a good language school providing a positive and inclusive environment where you can feel comfortable enough to embrace the experience and give it your all. The first thing to do is decide which language you want to learn and to what end: just for everyday use, a confidence boost when you’re on holiday, to find new overseas clients for your business or to prepare for your exams? Next you need to consider location. Just take learning French in France for example: in Paris, they don’t have a very strong accent which makes it easier to understand what they’re saying whereas in Provence they have a sing-song accent which is a fun challenge for any learner. It can be time-consuming and stressful to pick the right place for you; so let us do the hard work for you! Active Languages has years of experience helping learners find the perfect school and course for their needs and learning style. All you have to do is tell us what you’re looking for and what you hope to get out of your experience so we can give you some options and our insider knowledge!

Broaden your mind, make new friends, experience a new culture, grow as a person and learn a language abroad.

Contact Active Languages today: Contact us


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