Study Languages Abroad


by Waller Jamison

One of the best ways in which you can master foreign languages, is to study languages abroad, in one of the countries where the language is spoken as the native tongue.

So you might choose to learn French in France or Canada or to study Spanish in Spain or in Latin America. Or if you are more adventurous, you might decide to learn Chinese in China or Japanese in Japan.

If you enjoy travel, why not combine your adventures with learning the local language? This will enable you to develop a much richer understanding of both the language and the culture and it will be fun!

Gaining a thorough knowledge of a foreign language will increase your prospects in your careeer and, believe it or not, it's good for your health, as keeping your brain active after you leave college is one way to ward off Alzheimers.

Once you have made the decision to learn a language overseas, you need to decide which one and then to find the programme most suited to your needs.

Your choice of language will depend on what you hope to do with the language later. do you want to learn French because you hope to buy a holiday home in France, or do you want to learn Spanish because you planning to retire to Spain?

Or perhaps you want to work in international business and Chinese seems to be a good choice because of the growth in the Chinese economy.

Whatever your choice, it would be a good idea to try the language out first, either by attending a class or using one of the many online resources available. This is particularly important with the more difficult languages like Chinese, which is very different from European languages, with a complex system of written characters, sounds which differ greatly from those made in European languages and a grammar which is not at all like our own.

Once you've chosen your language and gained a little experience with it, you should then look for a good school in the area you'd like to visit. Do an online search for example "study French in France" or "Spanish courses in Spain" and then compare what is on offer. Do you want to do an intensive course, totally immersing yourself in the language for a month or more?

If so, you'll want one to one instruction or very small classes and the opportunity to live with a local person or family. Many people enjoy the extra income from foreign students, but you want to make sure that they will also take the time to talk to you in their native language.

Other courses are less intensive and offer the opportunity to go on organized trips, so that you can see a bit of the country. And some will provide lessons in the mornings and give you the afternoons free so that you can do whatever you like, which is good if you want to take part in sports or prefer to sightsee alone.

There are many different methods used for language study and so you will need to make sure that the course you choose will work well for your individual learning style. Once you've read some brochures, ask as many questions as you need to, to make sure the course is right for you.

Studying abroad is an excellent way of learning a language, but it isn't cheap and you must choose wisely.