How to Deal With Language Barriers When Studying Abroad
January20 Business. Comments : 0
f you are studying abroad in a place where they do not speak your native language, chances are yoursquo;re going to run into language barriers. Regardless of how long yoursquo;ve studied your host countryrsquo;s language, walls will arise in the form of local nuances, slang, forgotten vocabulary and more. Herersquo;s how to cope!
DONrsquo;T BE SHY OR EMBARRASSED
You may feel like you have the language skills of a local five-year-old, but your speaking wonrsquo;t improve without trying. I often fall into the trap of letting my more fluent friends speak for me; donrsquo;t let this happen to you. Speak up and have thick skin because you wonrsquo;t always be understood, and thatrsquo;s alright. After those first successful interactions, your confidence will skyrocket and yoursquo;ll be comfortably speaking in no time.
PREPARE FOR MENTAL EXHAUSTION
Few things are more humbling than having to work very hard to communicate a feeling, thought or need. This will likely be an unfamiliar experience for you, and it can be quite tiring. Give your brain a break every now and then; have a chat with someone in your native language for quick relief. After your brain is rested, jump back in with your renewed spirit.
PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE
The best way to practice is to make local friends (refer to ldquo;donrsquo;t be shy or embarrassed;ldquo; yoursquo;ll have to put yourself out there). This will help you develop everyday conversational skills that eventually lead to fluency. When yoursquo;re alone, review class notes, watch movies in the local language and play around on language learning apps.nIts a fun and easy way to cross check your skill set when you have downtime.
BE ABLE TO LAUGH AT YOURSELF
Language barriers can be funny. For example, my host family took me to the beach one weekend and asked me to compare their beaches to mine back home. I was trying to explain that their beach had a more potent sea smell, but the best I could do was say, quot;Therersquo;s fish in my nose.rdquo; They did not ask a lot of questions after that. You just have to laugh.
PUT ON THAT ACCENT, HONEY
Accents are undoubtedly the most difficult aspect of learning a new language. I could not for the life of me explain to my French friend the difference between ldquo;cheaprdquo; and ldquo;sheep,rdquo; and why her pronunciation of the word ldquo;beachrdquo; is very important. Accents can be tough, because you donrsquo;t want to feel like you are over doing it or mocking the language. Just listen to the locals and give it your best shot.