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If you’re looking to study in a high school in the UK or Ireland, learning and speaking the language maybe a daunting thought. Although it can be one of the most challenging parts of studying abroad, it’s also one of the most crucial aspects in order to succeed and make the most of your experience.
While there is no particularly easy way to learn a new language, there are many ways that work for different people. Once you find a way that works well for you, stick with it as the benefits are extremely rewarding.
Here are 5 tips on helping make your transition a little smoother…
It’s always a good idea to come prepared, don’t wait until you arrive at your new school. Whether you need to familiarise yourself with the basics or touch up on existing knowledge, use your time wisely. Get practising before and make the most of technology! There are plenty of online videos and language apps that can help. Check out the top 10 here.
A big part of learning a new language is mindset. Acknowledge that what you are doing is not an easy task and allow yourself realistic expectations of learning. No one is expecting you to be fluent immediately and the quicker you realise this, the quicker you can get over any embarrassment you may have with learning a new language. Keep up the positive attitude and practice! Majority of UK and Irish people are very used to hearing their language spoken by non-natives, so it doesn’t matter if it’s not spoken perfectly, people will still understand you.
Just like learning anything back home in your native language, different methods of learning work well for different people. Whether you are more practical or prefer a theoretical approach, there are plenty of ways to improve your speaking. Make flashcards, use language apps, books, YouTube videos, or podcasts. Or immerse yourself and get outside, read the new language around you and speak to locals. Find out which one works well for you and stick to it!
It’s easy to arrive in your new country and seek out other exchange students that speak the same language as you but try to avoid this. Although it may be comforting to have friendships with others from your country you will never learn if you don’t step out of your comfort zone and speak to locals. By doing this you will learn so much more about the language, you will get an insight into phrases and expressions and learn how their language reflects their culture. It is also a fantastic way to build new relationships and boost both your knowledge and confidence in speaking.
There are only so many language apps and flashcards you can use until you need to get out there and practice speaking to people. Although this seems terrifying, it’s one of the quickest ways to get fully stuck in. Don’t worry if you don’t understand everything, the important thing is that you get out there and try your best. Find a local speaker, they can help correct and guide you and answer any questions you may have.
Learning a new language is one of the best gifts you can give yourself and certainly one of the most rewarding parts of studying abroad. You won’t believe how much you will improve until you go back home! So, get out there, be confident and enjoy the process.
For more study abroad tips click here.