All of the travel enthusiasts know, that travelling is fun, that it gives you a lot by teaching you tolerance and cultural awareness, broadens your horizons and opens your mind. However, it can teach you language too. No, you do not need to buy an expensive language course or summer school. You just need to aim for learning and plan your travel according to it.
How to do it?
- Learn some of the language
Choose your language and start learning. You can find a course or learn at home by yourself. The most important thing is, that you must enjoy it and you need to learn regularly. Two times a week is just not enough.
Here are some methods, you can use when learning.
- Duolingo – you can study for free using a web or mobile application (Android and iOS). From English you can learn 27 languages. You can practice reading, writing, listening and pronunciation. All the words and grammar are used in sentences.
- Tinycards – It is a flashcards application by Duolingo. It is very good app for learning and practicing vocabulary for most common languages from Duolingo courses. Currently it is available only for iOS, but Android and web apps will be released later.
- Goldlist – another way for learning vocabulary. It is a method to learn the words and store them in your long term memory by writing and rewriting them.
- Listen to the language – listen to songs, find their transcriptions and translations. Translate some songs yourself. Watch TV shows with subtitles – in the beginning use subtitles in your mother tongue, then switch to the target language
- Read books – in all the good book stores you can find dual language books marked by the level of language difficulty. Choose books corresponding to your level. There is a text in your target language on the left page and translated text in your mother tongue on the right page.
- Travel and practice speaking
When you know the basics, you know some vocabulary, you practiced reading and listening, it is the time to practice speaking. The best way to practice is to go to a country, where the language is spoken. To avoid speaking in your mother tongue, you should go alone. This will really improve your language skills a lot. Here are some tips, how to practice as much as possible.
- Accomodation – select an accommodation, where you will live with locals or other people who speak the language. Don’t go to a hotel, where you will have a room on your own. You can go to a hostel or even better live with locals. You can find such accomodation using Couchsurfing or AirBnb. With Couchsurfing hosts offer their couch for travellers for free. With AirBnb people offer a room or a whole flat for a fee. When choosing this one, select a room, not the whole place, so that the locals are there for you to talk and give you advice.
- Transportation – try to use the transportation, where you get a chance to talk to people. Great way to make sure, that you have somebody to talk is using BlaBla Car. It is a carpooling platform, where people driving somewhere offer free spots in their cars to share the costs. All the drivers have a Bla attribute at their profile. Bla person does not like to talk, BlaBla person talks when they are in mood and BlaBlaBla person likes talking a lot. By choosing a BlaBlaBla driver, you can be sure, that you can have a nice talk on your way.
- Sightseeing – always search for a Free walking tour. All the big places do it and they do it often, you can google it easily. The tour is done by locals for free and in the end, you can give them a tip if you liked it. Find a tour which is done in the target language. Other tourists learning the language will attend too, so you will have a nice opportunity to practice talking.
- Meeting people – there are several ways how to meet people, practice language and have fun. You can google a Language exchange event. Usually, there are language tables and when joining a table, you can speak only in the table language. You can also use Couchsurfing Hangouts mobile app to find meet-ups and events around you. You can also use Meeple (MEEt peoPLE) to find locals to meet.
- Talk talk talk – always try to find an opportunity to speak, to practice the language. Ask people about the way even if you know it, ask them to take a picture of you, ask them about time, about the sights.
And that’s it. Easy, right? When you want, everything is possible and when you have fun along the way, it is even easy. Fingers crossed, lets start our language adventure!