11 Tips For Learning A New Language In A Foreign Country

It is a brave endeavor few truly take on with full force. But if you’ve ever been curious, or you intend to dedicate your mind to doing so, here is a cheat sheet of what to expect.

1. People from your own country will only stall your process. If you’re comfortable, you won’t learn. (So make sure to isolate and get an apartment in the least-cool part of town.)

2. A new language means you will need to sleep more. (Not just because you’re lonely.) 

3. People will flirt with you just so they can talk at you. (Silly, pliable mute, you.)

4. Prepare to eat meals with people and their families. (Even if you get your own apartment, well-meant locals will find a way. Sorry, their mothers are just as annoying.)

5. You will embarrass yourself so often that it will make you feel glad you took mushrooms that one Valentine’s day in college. (Because you already know what it’s like to have a complete loss of ego.)

6. Local commerce is a great teacher. Spending time in markets will enhance your understanding of that culture’s normative value system (A killer impression of the guy hawking tomatoes will also win you friends and lovers.)

7. You will learn the fine art of reading a newspaper on public transportation. (Before you New York City/Chicago/Seattle dwellers pipe up…we already know what you want to say. For the rest of us, it goes like so: seated, ankle folded over opposite knee, elbows bent, arms at 90º, a pensive stare with occasional rueful laughter or heavy sigh.)

8. You will take pride in the small things you accomplish without any miscommunication. (Getting a haircut, going to the bank, buying drugs.)

9. There will be always be the travelers that you know have a smaller vocabulary than you, but for some reason are more adept at conversing. (Yeah, fuck them and their good social skills.)

10. When you get back home and all of a sudden are able to bust out in that language with someone else, prepare for a shocked “I didn’t know you could speak __________!” (Be gracious. No one likes a smug winner.)

11. Fluency is a road that never ends. (Enjoy the ride.) Thought Catalog Logo Mark

image – Shutterstock

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