IWTYAL 153: Tips to learn languages abroad

In this episode, I discuss learning languages abroad.

In this episode:

  • Moving abroad to learn a language isn’t always as easy as it seems
  • The need to feel comfortable can lead to decisions that aren’t helpful for language learning

What I’ve been doing in Hong Kong:

  1. Talking to people on the street is neither easy nor productive. Create dedicated opportunities to speak: ConversationExchange.com, MyLanguageExchange.com
  2. Learning local vocabulary for daily life is the biggest benefit to living abroad: Use flashcards to store what you learn
  3. Keep an ongoing record of phrases you want to use, and ask someone later (again, I use flashcards for this)
  4. You only need a couple of good friends to create a perfect learning environment – go out as much as possible
  5. Use commuting time for study
  6. Use all dead time for revision
  7. Don’t stop studying!
  8. Look for ways to involve yourself in the language – I’m creating my own materials

Resources Mentioned in This Episode:

Today’s quote:

A wise man will create more opportunities than he finds

Francis Bacon

Start speaking today

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  • dandiprat

    I envy you getting to go to Hong Kong for so long! I hope we can see some videos of you speaking Cantonese with locals. I need to live vicariously!

  • Luke Truman

    Sounds quite different to my time in Hong Kong. If the other person speaks first they will 100% of the time use English but for me, if I start the conversation 90+% of the time they responded to me in Cantonese and I got a lot of chances to practice.
    Even in Yuen Long I was sat indoors after the typhoon while some people came round to repair the tv and they didn’t even speak English. A lot of the rural parts and older generation people don’t speak English very well if at all so I was put in situations where Cantonese was the best common language for us to use.
    That being said I had an advantage staying with my girlfriend and her family for two weeks which gave me 100% Cantonese right from the start.

    • Yeah.. I know lots of people who had similar experiences. Depends on your environment, as always.