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Can you imagine waking up in another culture? Experiencing it for a couple of weeks or months? Studying abroad is one of the easiest ways to live in another country. It can be either a language course or a college semester. Of course, it includes a lot of paperwork, but once you’re at your destination, you know it was all worth it.
I’ve put together the 10 most important motives to study a language abroad, but there are naturally many more reasons! If you want, drop your reasons in the comments!
1. You Learn it Faster
There is no faster way to learn a language than living in a country where people communicate in that language. I studied English for 10 years in Brazil, but when I went to Europe I noticed I had much more to improve. And that actually happened pretty fast, because I couldn’t use my mother-tongue with those people, so I really had to learn their language (and fast) if I wanted to talk with them. That’s a great push we all need to reach proficiency.
2. You Improve Your Pronunciation
In order to speak like a native, you have to constantly hear locals speaking and pay attention to their intonation, how their lips move. Many sounds aren’t common in our own language, so it’s important to break the words into parts, understand how to pronounce each sound correctly and practice, practice, practice. Luckily, you’re studying abroad, so it’ll be easy to find buddies to check your pronunciation.
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3. You Can Practice on the Streets
Actually, you can practice it anywhere, anytime! No need to wait for the next class to try a conversation. Just walk out the door and start talking to people about the weather, for example. People love to chitchat about the weather, so go for it! Even better if you are in a family house because then you really get to live their culture and can constantly exercise it.
I’ve lived in a family’s house in Amsterdam when I came as an au pair, and I’ve learned so much about the Dutch culture with them! It was a great experience and I’m glad I did it. So, this is might be a good option for you as well.
4. You Will Meet Many Locals
Locals really tend to be interested in those who are learning the language of their country. They want to know your reason to be there, if you think the language is difficult or not, if you like their country, etc. So, go to cafes, bars and meet some people. It’s so satisfying to have your first conversation with a local! Besides, I think (a little) beer helps me to not to be so shy and talk a lot in a foreigner language. I already talk a lot…but beer is a push for me to reach proficiency in many languages. 🙂
5. It’s a Complete Language Immersion
That’s the biggest reason why people learn it so fast abroad. You watch tv in this new language, listen to the radio, hear people talking around you, read the newspaper, everything! You can practice it even when you read the cookies package. You might even dream about it! I know that I did in the first month or so. By that time, I couldn’t speak Dutch yet, so I had no idea what the dream was about. 😀
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6. Use your skills daily
It’s not like in one day you’ll practice speaking and only in the next day, you’ll practice reading. Oh, no! You’ll do it every day! Because this is a complete language immersion, remember? So, you get to exercise your skills on daily basis and that’s perfect to speak it fluently. Great tip: elderly people love to talk about the weather and old times.
7. Boost your CV
You can always put the knowledge of this language on your CV, but if you write down that you learned German in Germany, it gives a huge boost! Why? Because they know that you lived in that culture for a while, so you can probably communicate and understand it much better than someone who studied it in her/ his own country.
8. You Will Travel More
Besides learning something new, you’ll get to travel around (and we’re travel lovers, right?). Get a bus, exercise your skills, talk to people on the way to your destination, ask for directions and discover more cities and villages around the place where you live! This is a really nice way to travel because you don’t have to hurry, you live there!
In my year as an au pair, I traveled to almost all the provinces in the Netherlands and to many cities in the surrounding countries. So amazing!
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9. You Get Smarter
Yeah, that’s right! You get smarter from learning a new language because you use every form of memory to hold this new information. This is a powerful exercise for your brain! And before you ask, no, I’m not making this up! This statement is based on scientists studies. So, go ahead and learn a new language! Keep your brain active!
10. Find a New Hobby
You can go to Argentina to learn Spanish and start following tango classes. Or learn Italian in Rome and follow cooking classes. Yummy! This is a big win-win-win! You practice the language, learn how to dance (or cook) and have a nice time! Besides the fact that you’ll make new friends!
It’s proven that we learn more when we’re in a pleasant situation, so go for it!
Don’t sit and wait
Last, but not least…Learning a language abroad has actually many more motives than just 10, but it also requires commitment! Don’t think that only because you live abroad, the information will automatically get into your brain. You have to study and practice every day to fully take advantage of this opportunity! Nobody said it would be all-party, C’mon!
I have studied Dutch in the Netherlands and it was a great experience. I’d love to learn French and German now. What about you? What languages do you speak? Have you learned them abroad? Or are you going to study abroad?
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