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Want to learn a foreign language? Move abroad!

If you really want to learn a language, the best thing you can do is move to the country that speaks it. At least, this is what my personal experience has showed me.

You can take plenty of language courses, which will undoubtedly be useful in improving your level. But if you really want a fluent command of a language, it does not matter how well you know each of the grammar rules, verb conjugations and big lists of vocabulary, it will never be enough. Learning a language is not just a matter of theory – it takes lots of practice.

This is something that I took some time to realise. I couldn’t say how many English courses I took in Spain, how many hours I spent in studying the language, in front of books, huge lists of vocabulary, grammar rules and verb conjugations. I especially remember studying phrasal verbs, those endless lists that we had to memorise for the exam, forgetting them in the next few days … But what was the point of studying all these phrasal verbs, if we did not know how to use them?

My exam marks were always high, as my memory is quite good, and I was able to memorise all the words needed to “fill the gaps” of the exam’s typical exercises and get a good grade. But when it came down to it, my level of English left much to be desired, a fact that I realised during my first trip to an English speaking country. This is something I have been trying to solve since I moved abroad, and my English has actually started to improve.

Understanding the language

You will acquire a true understanding of the language and learn the real meanings of words and expressions. Not to mention the enlightening, enriching and culturally eye-opening experiences you’ll enjoy. But this only works when you’re surrounded by people who speak that language, being completely immersed in their culture. In an environment where it’s essential for communication. Not from a lecture. You may be able to study, and even get a masters in a language… you can almost touch perfection … but never live the language.

Living abroad, not one day passes without learning something new, and almost without realising it! Far away from language programs and classes, learning through direct contact with the language. And best of all: for free, what more could you want? This method is much better than spending hours in front of a book… isn’t it?

So, if you are really determined to learn a language well, my advice is to dare to go live in that country! Although at the beginning it may be difficult to adapt to a new place, I don’t think you’ll regret it.

 

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Ian Chapman – Director of Holiday Experience –

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