If you’ve followed my blog for a while you’ll know that I’ve travelled to every country in the world and my adventures aren’t finished yet. One thing that is key when I travel is being able to communicate with people in each destination. I know that guides, translators and various apps can help you along the way but nothing beats being able to chat directly with people especially in their native language.
Having the ability to communicate in various languages will help every traveler no end when they are travelling the world. I have found that people are so happy and open up much more if you can dazzle them with your language skills. There have been many moments that I have laughed with locals when trying to speak their native language, people instantly appreciate that you’re putting the effort in to chat with them.
Having English as your first language sure does make travel easy and sometimes it can make us a little lazy because more often than not there will be someone who can speak a little English to help you out. That being said I think we should all try to learn at least one new language and what better time to do this that when you’re on the road? You have plenty of downtown when you’re waiting in airports or on long train journeys, and you can also practice with native speakers as you go.
I am currently learning a language online in the hope that I’ll be able to improve my Thai. Here are some key pointers to help you guys out when you first start thinking about learning a new language as you travel.
Identify A Language
The first thing that you need to do is find a language that is most useful for you. Learning a new language is always fun and you will have much more motivation if you know you’ll be using that language in the future. So decide whether you need the language to help with your travels, your career or if you’re moving to a new country. I live in Thailand most of the year, so that made my mind up for me – there’s no need to learn German if I’m going to find Thai most useful for the future. Before you make a commitment look at what you have planned for the next few years, don’t rush your choice.
Find An Online Language School
Now it is time to find a language school that offers the language you’ve identified ie best for your needs. The best way to do this is by speaking to fellow travellers, friends and family. I found that finding the largest expat Facebook page in the country whose language I want to learn worked really well, by posting a simple question you’re likely to get tens if not hundreds of replies – this will help you narrow down the list of options. I also suggest reading online reviews from fellow learners, so get online and read up as much as possible. Never sign up to the first one you find, you need to take your time and make an informed decision. From my research I identified Live Lingua as being the number choice.
Learn From A Native Speaker
One of the main factors that made me choose Live Lingua because all of their teachers are native speakers with proper certification and relevant degrees. Learning from a native speaker is essential when you want to really learn a new language. They will make sure that your pronunciation and tone is as good as can be – as an English teacher in the past, I know just how important learning from a native speaker is. You will also learn more about the culture of that country and understand their behaviour.
Draw Up A Schedule
When you’re on the road traveling scheduling can be tricky, but if you’re serious about learning a new language you need to draw up a schedule and stick to it – as with any new skill you must be disciplined to make your learning effective. Of course you have to be flexible as your plans may not always allow you to be online to learn, in those cases plan extended lessons with your teacher and also self study when you can.
Immerse Yourself In The Language
Learning from your native teacher online is the best way to start a new language. You can make the learning even better by travelling to the country that speak your chosen language to practice. Imagine having a lesson in your hotel room, online with your teacher and then heading out into the city to put it into practice – that sounds like the best way to learn! So immerse yourself in the language and learning journey by traveling to places where you can practice.
Have you learnt a new language using an online school? If so, I would love to hear all about your experiences, tips and tales. I think it’s great when we can share our first hand experience with others to help them find the best way to learn. All you have to do is pop your thoughts in the comment section below – thanks for sharing guys, I’m looking forward to reading them all!