Those who travel and live abroad tend to have a big advantage with respect to learning another language, especially if they follow the old adage “When in Rome… (do as the Romans do).” Put simply, this proverb suggests that when traveling to another country or region, we should act as the locals do. The opportunity to mimic the locals – in this case, speaking and interacting in the local language – confronts us at literally every corner.
However, what can you do when you are interested in learning another language, such as English, but don’t live in a region where it is commonly spoken? In the following paragraphs, I will outline some helpful tips for doing just that, but be forewarned that each of them will require you to be proactive.
When I was in high school, I absolutely deplored learning Spanish – besides the fact that I found it very difficult. I also didn’t see any real-life applications that I would be able to use it in. Fast-forward to my university years and everything changed.
I had started to travel to some Spanish-speaking countries, I worked with several Spanish speakers, and I had also made friends with people that spoke it as their first language. At that point in my life, I had finally encountered some practical uses for the language, and that made all the difference. Not only did I start to excel at the Spanish language, but I also came to enjoy it – and still do to this day
In order to prepare for a trip that I was taking to Mexico, I started watching Spanish-language TV, even watching soap operas to practice my listening skills and improve my ear. In the beginning, it was a challenge just to catch a handful of words, but I was persistent, and after a couple of weeks I noticed that I was starting to understand full sentences.
Nowadays, thanks to the seemingly limitless options that the internet and technology have put within our grasp, there are excellent resources out there for consuming English content. You can choose from:
Language and culture are often a two-way street, with each one having at least some impact on the other. So, if you want to have a better chance of participating in conversations and discussions and not getting lost, make sure that you have a good understanding of the culture, tradition and even history of the regions where the language is spoken.
This can be a daunting task when the language is spoken in many corners of the world (such as Spanish, English, French, among others). In my opinion, this just makes acquiring and perfecting the language all the more interesting and fun. With all the streaming services available, it’s relatively easy to find content from the specific country you want to become more familiar with.
Another technique that I used to prepare for other trips to Spanish-speaking countries was to narrate different moments of the day in Spanish, giving a play-by-play account of what I saw happening around me. For example, if I had to go to the gas station, I would imagine that I was actually somewhere in Latin America and forced myself to consider how I would communicate in Spanish.
It got to the point where it would just become second nature for me to have imaginary conversations in Spanish with friends and family that I would never even need to speak Spanish to. Needless to say, this practice really helped me to stay immersed in the language even though I was miles and miles away from any Spanish-speaking countries.
One of the best ways to fill your hours and days with useful language practice is at your fingertips at this very moment. Platzi has thousands of students that are enthusiastic and dedicated to learning English, as well as an amazing group of teachers that want to help and see you succeed. The best thing is you’re just a comment away from interacting with them.
Also, keep in mind that it’s not necessary to practice with an expert all the time. Conversely, you can learn a lot from your fellow students and peers, as other learners will tend to use a different set of vocabulary and sayings that you still haven’t had exposure to. By having conversations with them, you open yourself up to absorbing new words, phrases, and even different strategies.
Additionally, in Platzi, the number of hours you spend learning isn’t limited by your wallet, but rather by how much time you feel like spending on reaching the next level.
To summarize, there are many strategies and habits that you can develop in order to surround yourself with the English language, even if you don’t live in one of the countries where it’s frequently spoken. In short, if you can’t go to Rome, bring Rome to you. You can get started right away by taking a moment to find a course on the platform that interests you and start interacting with other students right away.
2 months ago that I didn´t read anything in English. I love it, thanks to Chris, thanks for the tips and remember to me to read a lot of English articles. 💚👾
I really feel that, bro! Now I’m more confident of myself to try to writing comments in English, although I have a lot of mistakes, I’ll be better and better every single day. After all, we never stop learning 😎.
AYY! I love this community and the people inside it. 🚀
I understand perfectly, here anyone will judge. We know that it is important to have mistakes to learn more!
Javier, do you have Twitter? I would like to connect with you. @EdwLearn I’m. 🥰
Thus, even free video editors will add a finishing touch to your projects.
I loved this post a lot!!
When I travelled to The United States, I was very excited to practice my English. However, I realized many people speak Spanish there. Even I met people who have lived in different states for many years and they don’t know English. So, I understood that learning a language is basically create the environment even if you are a country where it is spoken. Fortunately, internet makes it very easy. So, you can listen and read a lot of content in English about any topic. Also, you can meet people to practice your speaking and writing. Good luck in your learning.
I think it’s normal to be a little nervous before a trip, especially if I’m going alone.
This article is excellent! Thanks for these tips. I’m gonna put all of these in practice. If i have a mistake it would be great that you could teach me somenthing new 😁 See you later
Nice, so where I find the other students to practice?
Thank you for these contributions ❤️