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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 for free learning sites on the web or 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:

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. offers 36 different languages from $20. has online courses in four languages available for between $39 and $69. Try a sample lesson online. 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.

Take an evening class. Popular languages are offered in local schools and colleges. 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 practice it.

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.

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.

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Language Study Abroad
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