There is really no better time to get around to learning a second language than when you decide to travel abroad. Okay, you probably should have taken some language courses in high school or college, when you were younger and more capable of mimicking sounds and committing words, phrases, and sentence structure to your long-term memory. But there’s no time like the present, and being surrounded by native speakers can only help you when it comes to learning correct pronunciation, verbiage, and usage. It might be frustrating and embarrassing at first, when you’re still a novice, but you’re sure to pick up language a lot more clearly and completely when you have native speakers to help you out. Here are just a few basics to get you started with learning a second language when you travel to foreign shores.
The place to begin is by picking up a phrasebook. You have to start somewhere, and this common travel companion will help you to learn the basic phrases needed to get directions, order a meal, or otherwise interact with vendors in a foreign locale. Whether you’re looking for a bank or a bathroom, a language phrasebook can help you to get the information you need quicker than, say, a bulky translation dictionary. And the best part is that you can now get phraseology apps to make the process even faster and easier. You might also want to download a translation app that can convert any text you type in, as well as recorded conversations and snapshots of text (on signs or menus, for example). These two tools are a great place to get started when you’re traveling abroad and just starting to learn a second language.
Of course, you might also want to take a more in-depth approach to the learning process, and there are several educational mobile apps that can help you here. Rosetta Stone, for example, is not only available on your computer, but the company also produces apps designed to help you learn your language of choice. And Busuu can connect you with native speakers to correct pronunciation or simply practice conversing. Then there is the Rocket language series, with Rocket Italian, Rocket German, and Rocket Spanish premium review options to help you become fluent in a second language. Depending on the length of your trip, you might not finish your lessons before you return home, but this only gives you a reason to keep studying and return at a later date.
The final step to take if you want to pick up a language while traveling abroad is to ask for help. If you stick to major urban centers, chances are good you’ll come across plenty of people who speak English, but if you want to continue learning the native language, your best bet is to try to speak it as much as possible. And asking people to help you when you don’t know a word or you’re using it incorrectly is a great way to improve your linguistic skills. When in doubt, go to the source.