If you are looking for international health insurance or even short term medical travel insurance, there is a good chance you are also interested in learning at least the basics of a foreign language. Learning a foreign language takes focus and dedication, but with practice, it will become more and more familiar to you. For a lot of people, understanding the language comes before speaking the language but it’s equally important to practice speaking.
There are tools at your fingertips you can start to use before your travels. Here are just some of the resources you can look into:
Watch a Foreign TV Show or Movie With Subtitles
Watching foreign soap operas is a great way to pick up on intonations and vocabulary. You will start to hear the same words over and over again and recognize common phrases. You may also pick up on some cultural mannerisms such as whether or not people kiss to greet or shake hands. If you rent a movie with subtitles, watch it over and over again. Repetition is a great teacher.
Make Your Own Flash Cards
Tony Buzan has comprised the top 100 words of any language to get your flash cards started. Making your own flash cards forces you to think about what you are studying and why. For instance, if you know you are going to need help with directions, make flash cards with words like “straight ahead”, “left”, “right”, “street”, “block”, ect.
Try Reading Children’s Books
If possible, go to the library to check out children’s books and read them over and over again just as if you were teaching your child to read. The books use simple vocabulary and include pictures for reference. You may notice that your flash cards help with the reading! As you advance, you can move up to magazines and newspapers.
Listen to Music
Listen to music in the language you want to learn. Music is a great way to associate vocabulary and you will start to appreciate what the locals are listening to.
Study A Topic You Are Passionate About
If you are interested in the human body, try memorizing all the words for the parts of the body. If you are interested in taking a dance class, try memorizing all the words you may hear during the class such as “Let’s start”, “Up”, “Rest”, “To the right”, “Left foot forward”, ect.
Enroll in a Class
Of course, structured class time is probably the most focused way to learn a language from a professional. You will also stay motivated and encouraged to keep pushing yourself when you know a test is coming, or you will have to be speaking in front of the class. It’s also nice to share your concerns, challenges, and successes with others!