To Learn a Culture, Learn the Language
Twelve Ways to Pick Up a Language Before, During, and After Your Trip
Whether you are abroad for two days, two months or two years, the sooner you start learning the local language, the richer the cultural experience becomes. Remember you already know one language well. You have the
skills. No more excuses. It is only your lack of confidence that stops you, not your ability to learn. Have a go!
Before You Go
Try www.word2word.com for free learning sites on the web or www.sussex.ac.uk/languages/1-6-6.html
for links to freeware and shareware language learning software.
Sign up for a free online learning exchange. You share your native language and learn you partner’s using the
online lesson plans provided: www.mylanguageexchange.com.
Start a lunchtime learning club at work with colleagues. Find a teach-yourself package to share, or find a tutor and
share the costs.
Buy a learn-at-home language CD for the car or the ironing and use it. www.pimsleurapproach.com offers 36 different
languages from $20. www.elanguage.com supplies the four more popular European languages for around $20. www.parlo.com has online
courses in four languages available for between $39 and $69. Try a sample lesson online. www.rosettastone.com offers 28 languages. Prices range from $195 for level 1 to $499
for all three levels and Internet-based training starting at $50 per month.
www.linguaphoneusa.com has a PDQ beginners range that costs $50 and the more comprehensive dialogue course costs $320. For beginner up to expert level
the “Pro” package includes 12 months’ daily services bringing you up to date with materials online for $499.
Take an evening class. Popular languages are offered in local schools and colleges. www.languagepilot.com will
help you find the language course in the country you need. Even if you want to learn Nepali while living in Mauritius, these guys will find you an establishment to help.
Register for an e-learning course and receive each new lesson at your desk. Don’t just receive it; read it and
Get prepared before your trip with dictionaries and language learning books. Buy the phrase book and get familiar with
it. Don’t buy it at the last minute at the airport! You will have wasted valuable time.
Contact a mentor to find out what books and classes are available to learn in the country itself. Use www.expat.telegraph.co.uk.
Once You Are There
Start to listen as soon as you land. Be committed to learning from day one. Get a pocket notebook and write down the
words you wish you knew. Look them up, write them down, and start to use them.
Use every encounter as a potential learning experience. Waiters, shop keepers, news agents, taxi drivers, hairdressers,
household staff all make excellent teachers.
Find a local class. In it, you’ll find a social support network, too. Find them in a local newspaper in English
language. Or find a local tutor for maximum progress one-to-one with just an hour a week. Use your expatriate contacts for a recommendation.
Listen to local radio. Start by recognizing the words you know. Then try to get the subject of the news story. Try www.champs-elysees.com for
audio magazines on topical subjects in your favorite language to stay up to date and in touch with the language.