Learning New Languages For Travel
One of the best reasons to learn a new language is for traveling. When you’re abroad there’s nothing more satisfying than talking with the locals in their native tongue. Not only does this improve your experience but the locals will also respect you more! I’ll never forget the time that I was traveling in a cab in Mexico talking to the driver about local happenings – in Spanish!
The best strategy is not to start right before you leave. You’ll want to start learning well before your trip. Another great strategy is to get a language program that is geared for travelers – or at least has a travel section.
The best way to start learning a language is to get a good course that you can use at home, and plan for at least a certain amount of time each day. Even if you can only spend 30 minutes, it’s better than nothing! Buy yourself a new calendar and some fun markers or stickers, and start ticking off the days that you reach your goal (or exceed it!). Having a visual reminder and a goal to fill in all the days is a great way to keep yourself motivated.
Another tip that can go a long way towards helping you learn a new language is to just start speaking it! Even if you’re not perfect in your grammar, finding people to talk to can help you out immensely. There are a lot of language learning forums out there that can help connect you to other people who are learning the same language as you. Even if you’re only talking about where you’re from with limited vocabulary, it’s helpful to just START. This is what renowned language learning scholar Benny Lewis suggests, and he is one of the most prolific multi-lingualists in the world!
If you’re looking for a great learn at home program then Rocket Languages might be a great place to start. This is an excellent program that gives you a lot of bang for your buck. I’ve personally used Rocket Spanish and I wrote about it in this review. It’s an excellent program that’s much cheaper than Rosetta Stone and is a bit more traditional in terms of its methods.
Another thing that might help you out when it comes to learning a new language is to get reading material in the language that you’re learning. When I was learning Spanish I got People magazine in Spanish and read it as much as I could. I really think that this went a long way towards helping me to retain what I learned and pound it into my head. Plus it was fun! I was reading Spanish!
Another thing that I did was to get movies in Spanish and watch them to see if I could understand them. It really helped in terms of understanding the language as it is spoken by native speakers, which can be fast for beginners.
Any way you do it, learning a new language is a challenge but quite fun at the same time if you keep things fresh. Learning a bit before you travel will make your trip that much better!