How to get the most out of your language learning trip
Going on a language learning trip might be the perfect way for you to learn a foreign language.
What are the 9 steps I use to organise a language learning trip?
In this blog post series, I will outline the 9 steps I use to plan and go on a language learning trip.
Not sure on how to select a language school? Read Step 4 – how to choose a language school
Step 8 – How to get the most out of your language learning trip
So you’ve made the big step and booked in for your language learning experience. How will you get the most out of your language learning trip? After all the planning, saving and prioritising you are here in-country ready for your language immersion!
We go without many luxuries to save for our language learning trips because we love travelling and love having the chance to improve our language skills and getting to know a new culture. Now we have Lingo Bubba to travel with, language learning travel is a whole new world. I feel a great responsibility to provide her with as much chance to experience new things and have a broad worldview.
What do you need to remember to get the most out of your language learning trip?
Keep your language learning goals front and centre
Before embarking on a language learning trip (and ideally before confirming with your language school) you should identify your key language learning goals. What do you want to achieve from this trip? Is there a level of proficiency you would like? Or an exam you’d like to prepare for and pass? Perhaps you want to have your first in-language conversation at a restaurant? Or maybe you want to be able to watch a movie in your chosen language without subtitles.
It doesn’t matter if you are a complete beginner or have been studying your language for years, you should identify what your goals for your trip. You can read more here on my language learning goals from my last trip to study Mandarin Chinese in Taipei.
Keep these goals front and centre during your trip. The goals you initially chose might shift slightly as you discover new things to prioritise. Just as long as you are working towards something that matters to you!
Make sure you make time for the things you want to see and do
If you are travelling with your family, children or friends, then making sure you make time for non-language learning things to see and do could be especially important.
We try to balance our formal language learning and language practice with plenty of exploration. It can be a tricky balance though and not every day will go to plan! We usually have a ‘hit list’ of the most important things for each of us (Lingo Dada and myself) when we embark on a trip. We only put a few things on this list, but these are the things we absolutely want to do. Anything else we manage to fit in is a bonus!
Practice speaking as much as you can
I get as embarrassed and nervous as any language learner when speaking a new language with someone. It can be discouraging when someone shrugs at you or grunts something or just plain ignores you! But the key to improving is to just keep trying! Eventually, you will get there.
Some of my happiest language learning memories are conquering fears around talking to people or being understood or being able to respond to a question.
I try to set up opportunities to practice as much as I can. Perhaps to ask someone in the queue at the cafe I am ordering at what is a good dish to try, or to ask the hotel for directions to the nearest metro station. When you are just starting out learning a new language any opportunity is a good opportunity. Interactions around numbers and price can be a good place to start as can the weather or what the waiter suggests you try from the menu.
Be patient and kind to yourself
We want to push and challenge ourselves to improve and keep learning, but it always pays to be gentle with ourselves.
Remind yourself that you are tackling something new and difficult. And that it’s ok to take your time. You are on no one else’s timeline except your own.
Remember language learning is supposed to be fun!
What are your tips for getting the most out of a language learning trip?
Let me know below!
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Until next time,