IWTYAL 56: Do I have to travel to learn a language?

itunesButtonI answer the common question: “Do I need to travel to learn a language?”

In this episode:

Against traveling:

  • As a tourist, you will often find you are spoken to mostly in English
  • Even if you are able to practise, it can be limited to simple exchanges – such as ordering in a restaurant or buying a train ticket
  • People in certain countries are notorious for resisting helping you practise their own language, preferring to speak English instead
  • If you’re not a confident, outgoing person, the very thought of practising with native speakers might terrify you!
  • Making friends using only your target language is difficult, and unlikely to happen until you are a more advanced speaker and live somewhere for a more extended period
  • People who decide to live and work abroad often find themselves in an English-speaking environment, with few opportunities to practise the language. Working full-time, they are busy and tired, and have limited study time, despite living in the country itself

For staying at home:

  • A stable life and routine means you can get on with your study without too many disruptions. When you live abroad, far from family and friends, it can be difficult to commit to regular study and stay consistent.
  • You can recreate an immersion environment at home, by streaming movies, listening to podcasts, playing music, and reading in your target language… all you need is an internet connection!
  • In a big city, the world is quite literally on your doorstep. Whatever language you’re learning, you can easily find people to practise with. And because they’re living abroad, they’re far more likely to be enthusiastic about helping you learn their language.
  • You can find cafes, restaurants, MeetUps, societies, and more, where you can spend time surrounded by the culture of the language you’re learning, and meet others who share the same interest as you.
  • Professional language teachers are everywhere (including online), so if you want to take lessons, there’s no need to travel to learn.
  • In cities like New York and London, you can find the world’s best language departments in bookstores, so you’re never short of great study material. (Check out Rizzoli in NYC, or Foyles in London)

Start speaking today

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This article was written by Olly Richards.

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