Among the reasons why people travel is to learn a language or become more cultured.
According to the rank of reasons for traveling by Nomadsworld, learning a new culture and a new language comes in the 4th place after other, more basic reasons, like traveling for a family visit or spending time with friends.
Learning a language may not always be your primary goal while traveling. However, it’s a versatile activity, which you can fit into your traveling plans, regardless of what your main traveling goals are.
How can you do it?
Let’s take a look.
Surround Yourself with Locals
All of us have xenophobia to a certain degree. While you seemingly have no problem with foreigners, while you’re back home, you somehow find it difficult to communicate with foreigners when you travel.
Sometimes this fear boils down to a fact that we are afraid to offend locals with our words or gestures, that’s why we try to avoid communicating with them altogether. But if you want to learn a foreign language, you need to overcome this fear.
Arrange your travel plans the way that will force you to inevitably communicate with the locals. Here’s what you can do:
Image credit: Couchsurfing
Couchsurfing presupposes subletting a room or a part of a house from locals while living with them under the same roof. You can turn the time spent with locals at their house into a unique opportunity to learn a foreign language. Couchsurfing opportunities are offered by many housing services operating worldwide, including Flatfy and Homestay.
The domiciliary use of language (everyday language, in other words) is the best way to practice it. Moreover, with locals, you’ll be able to work on your pronunciation as well.
Image credit: Google Local Guides
Hire a guide
Around the world, there are tons of agencies that offer the services of a local guide. However, some of them don’t deliver a good service in terms of tourism, with guides who know little of local culture. To hire a local guide, try world-famous services like Google Local Guides, where you can find a person who’s an expert in the local culture and a native speaker of the language you want to learn.
Sightseeing in a local language
If you don’t want to hire a private guide, organize your sightseeing trips in a local language. For sure, you can get a sightseeing trip in your native language or English, but what’s fun it that?
These small steps will help you organize your trip around the goal of learning a new language. Besides, with Couchsurfing, you won’t be able to opt-out of speaking a foreign language for sure.
Another perfect opportunity to learn a new language and to serve a good cause is volunteering abroad.
Many international volunteering organizations offer tourists to participate in volunteering activities in exchange for free or cheap housing.
Such worldwide organizations include:
- Turtle Teams Worldwide – this is a set of organizations that do volunteering activities to help threatened sea turtles. Volunteers can help do research, participate in rescuing missions, clean the beaches and take part in other activities.
- Conservation Volunteers Australia – this volunteering program covers Australia and New Zealand and invites all those willing to work in teams to protect habitats and promote ecotourism. The program offers different types of cheap accommodation for the participants.
Image credit: Conservation Volunteers
- Help Exchange – this program helps locals who require help, find volunteers in exchange for housing. Volunteering activities include working on a farm, in schools, religious organizations, building houses or community centers or work as a nanny. All you have to pay is a membership fee to participate in a program, other expenses are covered by the organization or by the local who will host you.
In terms of learning a new language, volunteering is the most diverse experience. You’ll get a chance to practice a language while constantly communicating with other team members and also give something back.
practice every chance you get!
Use traveling as an opportunity to practice a language every time you have a chance.
If you’re already learning a new language, whether it’s with a tutor or with a mobile app like Duolingo or Rosetta Stone, put your knowledge to practice as often as possible while traveling.
When it comes to practicing the language that you’ve just started to learn, don’t worry about bad pronunciation or intonation (you can copy that from locals). The main goal of learning a language is application and practice. At your first attempt, you’re likely to feel uneasy, but with more practice, you’ll get more and more confident.
And don’t worry about the lack of experience: the moment you start talking to people in their local language, you’ll receive a ton of support!
Challenge Your Foreign Language Skills While Traveling!
The more opportunities you seek to practice your knowledge of a foreign language while traveling, the better your experience as a tourist will be.
Even the smallest actions, like asking for a menu in a local language, watching local TV channels, or talking to a shop assistant, are big steps towards improving your knowledge of a new language.
Share your experience learning a new language while traveling with us!
Ryan Pell is a passionate writer who likes sharing his thoughts and experiences with the readers. Currently, he works as a digital marketing specialist at https://hu.flatfy.com. He likes everything related to traveling and new countries.