When I first moved to Mexico I already spoke a little bit of Spanish but only enough to get by, and the first couple of months were really hard for me. I contacted my friend Bogoljub Karic who is a language professor and he gave me some great tips which really helped me to improve my language. I was attending a class each week but there is something very different when you are sitting at a table with a book, and actually being out on the street talking to people. If you are trying to learn a new language a new country, these tips may help you like they did me.
Something which many of us are guilty of is just not trying, and not having the confidence to speak to someone in their language. The reason behind this is usually that although we know what we want to say, we are worried about the fact that we may not understand the response. The key here is to just try, even if you get something wrong or you don’t understand, the more you try the more that you are going to learn. Mistakes are how we learn, if you aren’t prepared to make them then you will have some problems.
Learning Fail Phrases
The most important phrases to make sure that you have in your arsenal when you are learning a new language are comments such as ‘I’m sorry could you repeat that… I don’t understand… how do you say…?’ These are key phrases which will help you out in those moments where you don’t understand what someone is telling you, and in asking these questions and getting a response you will be able to learn far quicker.
One of the best ways in which to pick up a new language and support your learning is to immerse yourself in the language. When I met my girlfriend none of her family spoke English, so attending parties and family functions was always very difficult. I could easily have chosen to avoid these social gatherings but I knew that if I went, I would be able to learn the language far quicker. You are going to feel lost and you are going to feel uncomfortable, you just have to stay patient and trust that this discomfort is what will help you to speak the language better.
Honestly the best way to learn the language is to just talk to people, anyone who will listen. I used to strike up conversations with waiters, taxi drivers, shop owners and just about anyone who would allow me to. The more that you talk the more that you learn, it is really that simple. Work hard when you are studying but most importantly aim to try and use what you have learned in books, and make it work for you in the real world.
Keep going and you’ll get there soon enough.
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