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Is Learning a Foreign Language Abroad For You?

Feb 27, 2008
Study abroad programs offer the fastest way to fluency. There is no question about it. You get the language in so many ways: you read the street signs, the menus, hear the people at the bus stop, the list goes on and on.

Yet, there are people that have had a hard time with language learning and don't feel that study abroad will change anything. They don't feel studying abroad is the answer because for them learning a foreign language is close to impossible.

Well, nothing could be further from the truth. Not only is language learning possible, it's easier than you think. But this article is not about why it's easy, it's about why you can learn while living abroad.

Here are a few tips to get you excited about finding a study abroad program that's right for you.

#1 - You are officially a new foreign language student. The emphasis is on NEW because you will be starting from scratch. It's time to forget about the low test scores, the feeling of ineptitude and the belief that speaking another language wasn't possible.

Once in your new country you begin again and therefore can start to collect "good moments" instead of reliving the "bad moments. Just wipe the slate clean and take on this new adventure with all the excitement and joy that you used to have in first grade.

#2 - You are in charge of your success. Why does this matter? Well, as a current language teacher, I know that students progress according to their own timetables. Yet, when I tell this to a student, they only look at the others in the class and compare. When they see others progressing faster, they get discouraged.

Now you can become the person that decides how things are going. If you think you want to speak better, make the decision to get out and hang with the natives more. If you need to understand better, find a radio and an interesting station and get busy. When you've made some progress, celebrate. Just remember that you are the one who decides how well you need to do in order to celebrate.

#3 - You are a "hands-on" learner. In other words, you aren't the type of student that can learn a language in a classroom. Don't worry, you are one of many (and remember, I'm a Spanish teacher). You need to be in the culture with the language all around you. Once there, you will see how quickly you pick things up, compared to the days in class when it appeared nothing ever stuck.

You're going to find that phrases jump out at you as you're waiting for the bus. Words, expressions and conjugations start to enter your pores. You may sit down and study like before but what you learn won't compare with what you learn on the street. Heck, you don't even need to be in a conversation to learn, just eavesdrop.

In closing, regardless of your prior negative experience as a language learner, you can learn. And you can do it faster and easier in a country where it's all around you.

So get going!
About the Author
Jim Sarris is a veteran Spanish teacher and the author of a new ebook/audio series "The Secret to Learning Any Language." Visit his blog to obtain free information and learn about other resources to help you learn faster and easier than ever.Language learning made easy.
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