Practical advice – how to practise a foreign language abroad

Practising your target language is so exciting, especially if you have a possibility of working it with a native speaker (or your language partner). Language is an oral way of communication and when we speak, we learn faster. As our brain gets used to the target language, the communication becomes more natural and we spend less time on thinking about the translation. Another thing, even if you can understand books that you read and you are able to write in your target language, it doesn’t mean that you will be able to communicate with a native speaker without problems. Listening skills are very important! Our brain has to get used to the target language. So, don’t forget the 4 elements of language learning – listening, speaking, reading, writing. Only practising them together you will achieve the best result.

I am writing this article because I spent my holidays in Spain, in Andalusia region. I like Spanish culture and their language. So, it was a great life experience for me to see their way of life and to practise my Spanish. Now, I will finally give you my advice!

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How to practise your target language abroad?

Our aim is to speak. That is why we are going to find every possible way. One of the most simple ways is to make an order at the restaurant. Ask for a menu in your target language and try to communicate with a waiter. If you not sure how to ask, you can prepare some questions before your travel. For example, you can ask about traditional food or a local beer/wine, the best dessert… I am sure, it can be a great experience for you.

Here is the plate that I was brought when I asked for the traditional paella!

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Another way is tourist offices. There you can ask about future events that you can visit, nearest museums, clubs, parks, the best restaurants, transport, discounts… If you don’t understand anything, it is not a problem as they often speak several languages.

Of course, don’t forget to take a chance and talk to the receptionist at your hotel. If you feel that you missed some information just ask to speak slowly.

If you are a chatty person, don’t hesitate to talk with people on the street, ask them for the direction or the shortest way to go somewhere. They can be a good source of information as they live there and for sure can tell you a lot of interesting things!

Don’t miss your chance and try to watch the local TV. This kind of language immersion will help you to understand what is going on in the country and to learn a couple of new expressions. But if you have the advanced level in your target language, don’t the opportunity and buy some local newspapers. Just imagine yourself lying on the beach are reading El País (for example).

In a conclusion, I just wanted to add that being abroad you should be looking for every opportunity of communication. Don’t hesitate and try to talk with native speakers as much as possible.

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