If you’re living in a new country or visiting for a long period of time and don’t know the language, it can make some of the simplest tasks a lot more challenging, but it’s also one of the best ways to learn a different language as you’ll be forced to practice every day.
While a study conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that those who hope to achieve proficiency similar to that of a native speaker should start learning before they celebrate their 10th birthday, that doesn’t mean you can’t become proficient enough to communicate well.
Whether you just bought one of the new homes in Miami and you’re coming from a place outside the U.S., or you’re an American in Spain, following these tips can help you learn the language faster than you might imagine.
Exchange Lessons with a Foreign Friend:
Odds are, there is someone, and probably many people, who are living in the area that would like to learn your native language, which makes it easy to exchange lessons. Look for notices on community or hostel bulletin boards, or simply make it known to everyone you meet that’s what you’re hoping to do. Once you find the right person, plan to get together a few times a week to practice conversation and exchange lessons. It doesn’t cost a thing and you’ll learn a more realistic version of the language, including slang, something that you probably won’t get from a textbook.
Watch Local TV:
During your spare time, don’t binge watch Netflix in your native language, instead, go for something more local. If you listen to lots of realistic conversations in television shows and movies, over time, you’ll learn how to speak the language in a more natural way, and you’ll be much better equipped to follow real-world conversations too. Even if you can’t watch with subtitles, simply listening and taking note of certain vocabulary is a great way to tune into the local dialect.
Hire a Tutor:
One-on-one tutoring is a good way to get customized lessons from an expert who has experience teaching the language. You’ll learn things that will actually be useful, and it may be easier for the tutor to work with your schedule, making it more convenient too. Of course, this option isn’t free, but it may be invaluable.
Surround Yourself with Native Speakers:
While it may be tempting to hang out primarily with others that speak your language, it’s certainly not the best way to learn it quickly. If you need a roommate, look for one who is a native speaker, which can do wonders for your fluency.
Practicing is obviously a must. The more the better. Download an app on your phone so you can practice at any time and in any place. Aim to do it every day, then try practicing what you’ve learned with the locals.