Whether you’re new to the world of languages or you’re far along on your journey of fluency, you may have already considered posting up in an exotic destination. There are many benefits of learning a new language abroad. While making the jump might be a big decision, it can also be a great experience in numerous ways. Besides all the fantastic travel stories and the brilliant boost in your Instagram game, studying abroad can increase your language skills more than just about any other experience.
No matter what language you’re learning, there is a country and program out there perfect for helping you on your journey. Studying abroad is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and you should soak up all it has to offer. Here are some reasons why:
There’s no better way to learn a language than surrounding yourself with it, which is exactly why studying abroad can improve your language. When you’re in a place where your target language is spoken, you’re more likely to pick up on words, phrases and conversations. Your communication will primarily be in your target language — and the more you listen, speak and interact, the better your fluency will become.
Immersion is all about participating and interacting with the language. It’s about picking up on things all around you, and this is best created by going somewhere the language is spoken regularly. When you study abroad, even a trip to the grocery store or a night out with friends is a language lesson.
2. International Friends
Building connections with those around you is a benefit of any college experience, but studying abroad can help you make relationships in new, exciting places. Interacting with people who speak your target language is a great way to learn quickly and naturally, especially if you mostly talk in that language together. Making friends from other walks of life can build new, exciting relationships for you and them, where you can both learn more about each other and the world at large.
3. Variety of Experiences
Studying abroad takes you out of your comfort zone, which can be a valubale thing. You can pack your bags and get out of town for a whole semester, and there are so many ways to study abroad that it can work for just about anyone.
At some point in their college experience, 10% of American college students find the opportunity to study abroad. While longer periods can open up more cultural adjustment and learning, even just a few weeks or a summer overseas can do a lot for your fluency and life experiences.
4. Slang and Vernacular
One of the key points of immersion in another country that you can’t get from other, more artificial forms of immersion is learning how native speakers naturally talk. You’ll hear new words, speech patterns and slang terms you’ve never heard before, and by integrating those traits into your vocabulary, you can sound a little more local. From regional dialect to widespread slang, being around others can help you pick up on little things to better your practical comprehension.
Even if you don’t use local slang in your own life and speech, understanding it makes a world of difference in your overall fluency. You’ll keep up with conversations quicker and feel a little more in the know.
5. Deeper Cultural Understanding
Language and culture go hand in hand, and learning about the culture is much easier when you can live within it. While cultural immersion can help linguistic immersion, there’s a lot beyond that, too. Learning about the culture can give you a better knowledge of the people, language and traditions of wherever you’re staying. You can dive deeper and experience food, cultural customs and social situations you’ve never known before. You’re broadening your world knowledge, which is always a valuable life experience.
Improve Your Language Skills by Studying Abroad
Studying abroad can be an amazing, transformative experience. You can immerse yourself in a new culture and language to improve your proficiency while exploring a new and beautiful location. Stay for a few weeks, or settle down for the year — all you have to do is pack your bags.
About the Author
Alyssa Abel is an education blogger with a special interest in study abroad, language learning and cultural education. Read more of her work for students and educators on her blog, Syllabusy, connect with her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.