Among people who are studying foreign languages, it is considered the most effective way to master new knowledge is to go abroad, that is, to dive into a local environment. But is it really true? From this article, you will learn in what cases learning a language abroad is really effective, understand all the advantages and drawbacks of this method, and determine whether it suits you.
Why is it effective to learn a language abroad?
Let’s remember how we all studied foreign languages at school: in a classroom, we crammed the rules, did written exercises, read and translated texts. The same thing happened at many language courses and lessons with a private tutor.
Typically, only 10-15% of the time was devoted to the speaking practice. The theory took the lion’s share of training: 85-90% of the time. The classes themselves were quite short and rare: 90 minutes 1-2 times per week. As a result, at best, many of us understood the rules and knew some words but could not speak out.
What happens when we study abroad? When a person enters a new country, he gets what he lacked in his homeland – conversational practice. As a result, a student quickly acquires fluency in a language. He can use the simplest phrases in everyday life: in class, on the street, in shops and restaurants, etc. For a person who has never had conversational practice, this will be a huge breakthrough.
When is it effective to learn language abroad?
Learning a foreign language abroad is not always as effective as it may seem at first glance. There are some features that you need to consider if you really want to get a good result from learning abroad.
1. Your level of language proficiency should be no lower than pre-intermediate.
You should understand that lessons will be held in a completely unknown language at a foreign university. No one will use your native language to explain something. Having a zero level, you simply will not understand anything.
Imagine that you went to China and everyone is talking in a language you do not know. Can you speak Chinese if you have no idea about the simplest words and phrases? The effectiveness of training at local educational institutions will not be high. If you already have initial knowledge (preferably, at a pre-intermediate level), it will be easier to understand the teacher and classmates.
2. The duration of education should be at least one month or more.
Depending on your goal, you need to spend a different amount of time for training. Also, the duration of a trip should depend on your initial knowledge and conversational skills.
Will there be a result in 1-2 weeks? Yes, if you have a low level. You will begin to think and express your thoughts in a foreign language. You will become better at understanding speech. But it will be quite a primitive achievement. Do not build illusions. It must be understood that you will not speak as a native inhabitant within such a short period of time.
If you already know a foreign language at a good level, you will not notice a particular result in 1-2 weeks. In such case, a longer training is needed: from a month and more. But, in this case, you will improve your skills several times over! The most reliable option is to learn a language in a year.
3. It is necessary to seek communion with local residents.
If you will communicate with students who came from your country using your native language after classes, the effectiveness of training will fall. Use only a foreign vocabulary. After all, this is why you came to a new university. Communication will quickly help you learn to think in a new way.
The advantages of studying abroad
There are the following positive aspects which should attract your attention:
- You will always speak a foreign language – both during classes and after them. New words will be everywhere. You will completely immerse yourself into a local environment.
- The language barrier will disappear very quickly. When there is only foreign language around, you start using it whether you want it or not. You will have to deal with different people and will quickly get rid of a fear of communicating with them.
- Acquaintance with students from different countries. At a foreign school, people from all over the world will be taught together with you. You will not only work but also spend free time together. You will learn about their culture and countries, enrich the erudition horizons, and acquire new friends. This will grant you a priceless experience.
- It’s interesting. You will not only learn but also have fun. Traveling is always exciting. And studying in a foreign school is a great way to change the environment, to spend time cheerfully and effectively.
Disadvantages of studying a foreign language abroad
It would be a mistake to hide the fact that this method of education has significant disadvantages, which makes many people think they can’t afford it:
- High tuition fees. In most cases, you will have to pay for all the pleasures described above from your own pocket. Education in language schools abroad is not a cheap thing, and the price will be significantly different from any courses at home. In addition to classes, you will need to think about the housing, food, etc.
- The need for a long absence. Not every person can afford to give up all business and leave for a month or more. Many students have labor duties. Without working remotely, you can hardly take such a long vacation. Also, some people have families and children whom they can’t give up for the sake of learning a foreign language.
Of course, if you have an opportunity to go abroad for 1-6 months, take advantage of it. It will be very effective! Also, you can use writing services such us Pro-Papers. You will not only speak and think using new words but also enrich the life experience, get a lot of bright impressions, and make friends with people from all around the world. So, it’s about time to write a study abroad application essay for enrollment to a foreign university!