Welcome to EUROCENTRES blog

Top Tips for Learning a Language Faster In-Country

Image representing students learning a language faster in-country

Ask many people what the best way to learning a language quickly is, and they’ll say “immerse yourself”. In other words, move to a country where your target language is spoken and you’ll have no choice but to improve, fast.

Sadly, this isn’t always the case. Simply being around native speakers won’t help you improve by itself. You still need to work at it, and have a strategy for improving your language skills, no matter what level you are at.

Here are 3 tips to help you make sure you get the most out of your time in another country:

1. Learn the Basics Before You Arrive

If you are reading this blog in English, you already have a basic understanding of the language. This is really important to do before you move to another country.

When you arrive, you will need to do basic things like finding your way around,, saying hello, goodbye and thank you to strangers, and making yourself understood when you want to buy simple things or order food in a restaurant.

If you wait until you get there to learn the words for these things, you’ll spend your first few weeks or even months feeling nervous and frustrated. You might get used to finding other ways to communicate, or avoid using the target language. This will slow down your language learning.

Instead, try to spend at least 3-6 months practising simple, everyday phrases before you move to a new country.

2. Don’t Just Hang Around With People From Your Country

When you arrive in a new country and start to make friends, it’s natural that you will be drawn to people who speak the same language and have a similar background to you.

The problem is, you can’t immerse yourself in a new language or culture if you spend all your time with people from the old one!

Consider doing things that make it really hard for you to get lazy about practising your new language, or that allow you to speak your native language all the time. For example, you could organise a homestay with a family that doesn’t speak your language, so that you have to really try.

Take a course in your target language, or try to get a job that means you have to speak your target language all the time.

3. As You Get More Fluent, Look for Ways to Challenge Yourself

When you move to a new country with a basic or intermediate level of language skills, it’s easy to improve quickly with a little bit of effort.

After all, you come across new words every day, you have to try hard to be understood, and people will correct your grammar and pronunciation to help you learn faster.

When you get to a more advanced level, this doesn’t happen as often. Your language skills might not be 100% perfect, but people can understand you nearly all of the time. You comprehend most of what you read and hear. This means that you aren’t forced to work hard and improve.

For this reason, many people can live and work in another country for years on end, and still have a strong accent, make the same mistakes in their grammar, or stick to using the same vocabulary.

If you’re serious about achieving a native level of fluency, you’ll need to keep challenging yourself. Studying for a degree that means you write high-level academic papers will push you to improve fast, as will offering to give presentations and speeches.

Reading novels from all different time periods will expose you to complex vocabulary, ways of using language in different contexts, and the subtle ways that the language has changed over time – all of which will deepen your understanding of the language and the wider culture.

The most important thing, though, is to keep being curious about the language.

Whatever your stage of learning, be prepared to ask people to explain when you see or hear a new word. Keep working to improve your pronunciation. Don’t give up when things get tough. Put yourself in situations where you can’t hide from using the language, and you’ll find that your skills improve very quickly.

Are you serious about improving your English? Take a look at our range of in-country courses at www.Eurocentres.com.