Studying abroad is one of the most effective ways of learning a language. While you are abroad you are immersed in the language and culture, and can make very fast progress if you take advantage of all the opportunities. Depending on your age, occupation, time available, and preferred learning style, there are different ways of studying abroad. Here are a few possibilities:
- school exchange
- day trip or short study visit
- private language school for children
- holiday + self-study pack
- full academic year at boarding school
- studentship at university
- work placement and research/dissertation abroad
- assistantship and research/dissertation abroad
- private language school
- short course at university
- holiday + self-study pack
- summer school
- private language school - business focus
- short course at university - business focus
- short holiday + private tutor
- holiday + self-study pack - business focus
- homestay with family + lessons
Selecting courses, self-study etc.
There are a wide range of opportunities available: courses for foreign students, business schools, self-study centres, libraries, evening classes for adults etc. It is up to each student to select the best possible combination to suit his/her needs. At Lingualearn, we can offer you accurate, expert, and unbiased advice. Just complete the online request form.
Creating opportunities to interact with native speakers and learn about the target culture.
There is much evidence to show that students who spend most time interacting with native speakers are those who are most likely to make the greatest language gains. While abroad there are many ways of creating such opportunities:
- joining clubs and societies
- chatting in cafes and bars
- travelling - e.g. talking on long train journeys
- asking questions in shops
- asking the way
- starting conversations in bus queues and waiting rooms
If you feel that your language proficiency and/or confidence levels are insufficient for these challenging tasks, then try to build up to them progressively. You might consider starting with short, formulaic exchanges in shops and cafes, preferably on a 1:1 basis at a quiet time of the day. Old people and children may seem less intimidating and often have more time and patience. You could start with neutral/easy topics.
Taking full advantage of opportunities.
Many students create linguistic opportunities, but then fail to capitalise on them. In terms of interacting with native speakers, it is easy to be put off by some insensitive individual who does not realise the difficulties of speaking a foreign tongue. It may require some courage and perseverance to make progress. Here are some of my suggestions to improve, maintain and learn from your interactions; you might like to try some of the following:
- asking questions / being curious
- establishing rapport / using eye contact
- being sensitive to your interlocutor's needs
- developing friendships / making invitations
- making sure your responses are linguistically appropriate
- presenting yourself confidently
- finding common ground
- using strategies to simplify or slow down the input
- using communication aids such as a pen and paper, gestures, realia ...
- using strategies to compensate for low proficiency
- adding fillers and other stock phrases to improve fluency
You may obtain general advice on any aspect of language learning from the large network of language professionals at Lingualearn. Just complete the online request form and try to formulate your question as clearly as possible. There is no obligation and one of our consultants will contact you with a price. For most online consultations there is a flat rate of £50. [approx' $80 US, EUR 80, $110 CAN] It is not possible to answer very long or highly technical questions using this service, nor questions about technical installations and equipment. For more complex issues, please see our consultancy service.
Below, we have listed some useful websites for studying abroad. There are also links to language schools, and other relevant organisations.
Some useful links:
DfEE - The European Choice: - a guide to opportunities for higher education in Europe .
DfEE - The European Choice: A guide to opportunities for higher education in Europe