Moving Tips&Tricks November 19, 2021

8 Tips for Learning a New Language Before Moving Abroad

Blake Shaw

Bostonian and residential moving and packing expert. Blake Shaw enjoys bar-hopping, music, and writing insightful content.

Moving overseas to another continent and becoming a part of a community won’t be possible if you are not able to communicate your basic needs. That’s why you’ll need these practical tips for learning a new language before moving abroad, which will help you master it! Here is what you should do while preparing for a completely different environment, culture, and society.

Being a foreigner in another country and speaking exclusively English is exciting when the stay is limited to a couple of days or weeks. But when it comes to living overseas, things become way more different. Being unable to place the simplest order in a restaurant, shop for groceries, or understand directions when you’re lost can be frustrating. That’s why breaking the language barrier before moving internationally is a great idea. If you’re wondering What is the best strategy to learn a new language – here comes the answer!

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Tip #1: Start to Learn Early – Enroll in a Group Course or Find a Private Tutor

Preparing for an international move means you should deal with a lot of details in advance to avoid moving stress – choosing the right international moving company, booking all the moving services and relocation dates, flights, hotels, and more. Since those preparations could take up to a full year, until you get all the papers, find a home, and get a job – this is a perfect time to start studying.

However, keep in mind that one year is usually enough to master some basic levels. If your job requires advanced knowledge, then be prepared for a more intensive course.

Private Lessons or a Group Course? What Is a More Effective Method?

When it comes to the type of teaching, the most effective method is to have a private tutor who will create a course according to your needs and learning speed. However, group courses have advantages too.

Groups are always great for developing communication and speaking skills. Moreover, if some of the course participants plan to move abroad to the same destination as you, a friendship might be on the horizon! Every group is a great starting point for networking, so don’t neglect the power of it. No matter how determined you are to keep in touch with friends from back home, having a helping hand, someone to speak to in English, and share the same thoughts with will be very helpful. Especially if you’re moving abroad alone.

Did you know? There are more than 350 languages spoken in the US, with Spanish being the second-most common one. So finding a native speaker who can help you master the grammar and eventually become a fluent speaker and a real polyglot shouldn’t be all too hard!

Why Starting to Learn in Advance Is Important?

Not only will you be able to communicate with locals, but you will also find out a lot about the specific culture, traditions, and habits. All this will help you overcome the culture shock more easily and adjust to a different environment. In some cases, proving a specific level of fluency could be your way to acquire a visa or permanent residence, so be very careful when it comes to these rules.

Even if you’re relocating to some of the friendliest countries in the world, you should know how to communicate in some basic situations. Otherwise, even if this is the best place to live abroad, you won’t find it that satisfying.

Schmidt International Relocations
Studying individually will help you master grammar, but studying in a group could help you with better communication

Tip #2: Don’t Be Shy to Start Speaking

The greatest problem of all beginners is overcoming the initial discomfort of starting to speak. The reason for this behavior is that they feel insecure because of limited knowledge and vocabulary.

Although it’s entirely understandable for beginners to feel like this, starting to speak is of tremendous importance because this is the only way to improve skills. No one wants to make mistakes; however, in this case, they are beneficial, especially if someone corrects you.

Remember, speaking always gives you an opportunity to learn words, grammatical constructions, and feel more confident about your knowledge. So don’t miss the chance to indulge in conversation with your teacher, and remember – errors are fine!

Schmidt International Relocations
Studying can be fun! Don't hesitate to speak, even if you'll be using gestures to finish the sentence

Tip #3: Explore Different Online Resources and Immerse Yourself Into the Language Completely

Another effective way to keep you in studying form while preparing to move overseas is using some of the numerous apps created to help you improve vocabulary or become more confident about grammar rules. Although those exercises can seem simple at first glance, they’re actually very effective methods of memorizing rules, phrasal verbs, or words, so make sure to explore some of the following apps:

A smartphone, headphones, and wi-fi are everything you need for studying this way. Meaning, you can do it all day long – on the subway, lunch break, or during any other free time you have. The best thing of all is that these apps offer many different languages, including Spanish, German, Russian, Greek, Persian, and many more.

Schmidt International Relocations
Apps can help you keep up the continuity of studying and master any tongue - from the most popular ones, like Spanish, to those rarely spoken

Tip #4: One of the Ultimately Best Tips for Learning a New Language – Find a Native Speaker to Practice With

The online environment has enabled us many benefits, from free resources to wider opportunities to meet people all over the world and become virtual friends. The online world, undeniably, has changed the ways how languages are learned in many ways.

Social media networks and specialized online schools are the connecting point of those eager to learn and those interested to share their knowledge. Getting in touch with a native speaker who can guide you through the studying process and help you practice conversation is only a few clicks away.

Facebook Groups Are a Great Way to Find a Native Speaker

Facebook groups are a very powerful resource when trying to find people to practice with. The best thing is, you’ll have the opportunity to practice understanding slang, idiomatic phrases, and other expressions not easily findable in standardized dictionaries. Another perk of this is that those native speakers might be interested in mastering their English, so in the end, both of you get free lessons!

Online Lessons Provide Greater Flexibility When Learning and Are Great for People Always on the Move

Another reason why you should consider taking online lessons is because of the possibility to be in full control of your time schedule. This will also allow you to take those lessons wherever you are, at the time you prefer, from your home or work. Everything you need is a stable wi-fi connection, and you’re ready to go! Classes can even be organized through Facebook or GoogleMeet.

Schmidt International Relocations
Internet and social media networks like Facebook have brought us many advantages, and one of them is easier networking with people all over the world

Tip #5: Study Continuously, At Least Twenty Minutes A Day, And There Is No Doubt Youll Become an Expert

If you ever wondered what is the fastest way to learn a new language, the right answer is – continuity. Dedicating yourself to studying at least twenty minutes a day will be enough to turn it into a regular habit. Also, doing homework and dedicating additional hours to studying might not sound fun, but it’s necessary if you want to achieve the goals you’re striving for.

How Long Does It Take to Learn a New Language Fluently?

There is no definitive answer to this question since many factors affect the final result. Do you take individual or group classes? How many students are there in the class? What level of knowledge do you want to achieve? Have you studied other foreign languages before? For some people, becoming a fluent speaker could take months, for others years.

How Many Hours a Day Should You Study a New Language?

Express results will not come unless you don’t try really hard. However, you should not expect that long hours spent over the grammar book will accelerate improvement or improve fluency. The point is not in quantity, but how thorough and focused you are going through materials. Usually, you’ll need up to half an hour to an hour daily to keep the progress up.

The additional hours you have to dedicate to studying are measured on the week level. And this is exactly what this research by Cambridge finds. Depending on the level you try to achieve, the hours needed will increase. So, for intermediate levels, on average, you should spend 1-3 hours a week to complete all the tasks aside from classes. On the other hand, advanced learners should dedicate 2-7 hours a week. Once you do it, you’ll be fully ready to live abroad and enjoy all the benefits of the destination you’re relocating to.

Schmidt International Relocations
The exact amount of work and time you'll have to put in depend on a number of factors

Tip #6: Reading a Lot Is One of the Best  Study Tips for Learning a New Language

Undeniably the best way to learn words and widen your vocabulary is by reading. You can start with some less demanding literature pieces, like children’s stories, and read your way to the greatest pieces of national literature.

Also, you can find some interesting blogs run by native speakers and indulge in their stories. Whatever you choose, just make sure to have a dictionary close to yourself and check all the unknown words. Another tip for memorizing those words is to have a notebook where you’ll write them down and repeat them from time to time.

Schmidt International Relocations
Reading has always been the best method for memorizing expressions and enriching vocabulary

Tip #7: Music and Movies Are Great Supplements, Too

If you’re looking for tips for learning a new language fast, one of the best solutions would be to immerse yourself as much as you can into the cultural background of the country you plan to move to. Listening to music and watching movies (with or without subtitles) will provide you with an opportunity to listen to the pronunciation and understand it better. Moreover, you’ll be able to understand the contemporary cultural flows, which will help you start conversations while trying to make friends abroad.

Schmidt International Relocations
Music and movies are great ways to exercise your listening skills

Tip #8: Don’t Be Shy to Ask About the Meaning of a Specific Word, Phrase, or Grammar Rule

Even within your native tongue, there might be some expressions and grammar rules that aren’t clear to you. The same thing is to be expected when it comes to the foreign tongue you’re trying to master. So whenever you come across an unclear expression or grammatical rule, don’t hesitate to ask your teacher for an explanation, or even a native speaker you’re talking to.

Moving across the world and adjusting to different cultures is not an easy task, and everyone knows it. There is no need to be scared that the native speakers will criticize you if you don’t understand something. Quite the opposite! They will be happy to help you!

Schmidt International Relocations
Always ask for an explanation if something is unclear

A New Language Is a New Life!

… so says a Persian proverb, and we couldn’t agree more! When starting all the preparations, people usually feel so overwhelmed from all tasks on their plates, they forget to enjoy the process. However, with the right advice and a plan, everything will go much more smoothly than you could possibly expect. Just remember to study continuously, always ask if something is not clear, track your progress, and the whole studying process will be a pleasure.

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