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    Travel for Personal Development - What is the best way to learn a new Language?

    What is the best way to learn a new Language?

    >> Over the years I noticed travelling had an immensely positive impact on me. Especially solo travel can push us out of our comfort zone and teach us many aspects of our personalities. It highlights our strengths and weaknesses and helps us develop tools to live a richer & more fulfilling life. I knew I wasn’t the only one who reaped the benefits of travelling for personal development.

    This guest post series introduces you to others who have, in one way or another, travelled for personal development: be it to learn a new language, to mend a broken heart or to overcome an anxiety. Hopefully it will encourage you to travel more yourself and perhaps even help you to overcome barriers. <<

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    What is the best way to learn a new Language?

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    There are many reasons to go abroad. Some people do it for a once-in-a-lifetime holiday, others for fun and others do it for a form of personal development. Focusing on the last, there are many ways to develop ourselves. Suppose you want to learn a new skill. Skills can be many things. One can learn to dance, to dive, to improve communication skills, etc… But one very important skill that travelling is perfect for: it can help you learn a new language very quickly. So, what do you think is the fastest way to learn a language?

    best way to learn a new language

    (Passau) Image via Flickr CC from Mr. Thinktank

    Most people will sign up for a language course of two hours per week in their home country with an aim to learn a language fluently in one or two years. Others will go abroad because they think, quite rightly, that the best way to learn a language is by doing it in the country where that language is spoken. I couldn’t agree more! Although I am also aware that many people can’t go abroad for personal circumstances or work commitments. But for those of you who have the opportunity to go abroad, I strongly recommend you do so and solo if possible. You shouldn’t have any worries about going alone or about not knowing a word of that language before going there.

    best way to learn a new language

    Carmen with new friends in Germany

    Before the financial crisis, the Spanish Government used to give summer scholarships to university students consisting of around 1,200 Euros each to be spent in language courses abroad. We could chose among English, French and German. I was already fluent in the first two, hence I chose German as I wanted to challenge and develop myself. I spent three months during three summers in Germany. First time in Berlin (2008), then Hamburg and Passau (2009) and finally, Munich (2011), making it nine months in total. When I first landed in Berlin I didn’t know a word of German but I managed to pick it up in a month or so!

    Best way to learn a new Language

    (Munich & Beer) Image via Flickr CC by Dieter Kasimir.

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    I was attending private German lessons three hours every morning from Monday to Friday and I can guarantee that in the three occasions I learned more German than if I had taken regular classes in Spain for two years. On my last German course in Munich, in 2011, I even reached Level B2! It would take several years to reach this level if you study in your home country. This is why I think the best way to learn a language is by going abroad. And don’t assume that you’re only learning in class. Being surrounded by natives, is truly the fastest way to learn a language!

    Best way to learn a new Language - When Carmen from 'Carmen Everywhere' decided to go to Germany to learn German, she quickly realised that there are certain ways that help you learn a language so much quicker. Click on the Pin to learn more.

    Image via Flickr CC from Groman123

    To make the most of your experience you would connect with locals in that country with whom to practice your new language skills. So, in essence, the learning process takes place 24 hours! I still remember the fun times I had in Germany with people I met both at the course and outside of it. It couldn’t have been more amazing! I always had some activity planned on my free time which involved meeting a bunch of new friends and I constantly improved my German skills.

    best way to learn a new language

    Carmen with friends at a ‘Biergarten’

    « Biergarten » afternoons, cooking days in class, eating out and just hanging out, are some examples of the activities I undertook with my newly found friends. If you’re thinking of doing the same, you should start by getting rid of your fear. I am aware that many people, when they go on a language course abroad do tend to stick to their own group and not learn a word of the local language. I recommend keeping an open mind and develop a curiosity to meeting people of different backgrounds as it is not only the best way to learn a language but also encourages your own personal development tremendously!

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    Learning a foreign language opens up the world to you, brings new opportunities, helps you making new friends and immerses you into a new culture. Needless to say, it is also a fantastic way to boost your CV and makes you more employable in future.

    If you don’t want to do any of this – then it’s probably best not to learn a new language.

    best way to learn a new language

    (Germany) Image via Flickr CC from Thomas Depenbusch

     

    heart-blueWhat about you? Have you gone abroad to learn a new language? How has it helped your personal development? I would love to read your thoughts in the comment section below.

    About CarmenHeart Icon

    Carmen is the Spanish girl behind Carmen Everywhere. She blogs about solo travel, travel tips, living abroad, food & culture and specializes in local experiences (she loves street food!). Her writing style is unique in that she shares her own perspective and experiences in a very honest tone. If you want any advice from her on how to organize a trip abroad to learn a new language, get in touch with her!

    You can follow Carmen on Facebook  and Twitter.

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    Best way to learn a new Language - When Carmen from 'Carmen Everywhere' decided to go to Germany to learn German, she quickly realised that there are certain ways that help you learn a language so much quicker. Click on the Pin to learn more.

    Image via Flickr CC from Groman123

    Best way to learn a new Language - When Carmen from 'Carmen Everywhere' decided to go to Germany to learn German, she quickly realised that there are certain ways that help you learn a language so much quicker. Click on the Pin to learn more.

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    27 Comments

    • mark

      19.03.2016 at 04:58 Reply

      The government gave you money to travel i think that’s amazing. What pity they stopped this great initiative all because a few greedy American banks cause a financial crisis. I think traveling challenges us all in different ways whether it be solo, couple, friends or family.What an experience living in Germany must have been its my favourite country in Europe

    • Monika

      19.03.2016 at 05:26 Reply

      I agree that learning a language abroad is a wonderful way to learn and experience new things! I’ve taken Spanish courses in Latin America four times and I cannot recommend it enough! Especially with a homestay – then learning becomes fun!

      We should however remember that just by being in a foreign country you won’t learn a language – you need to put some effort into it to truly benefit.
      Monika recently posted…Glossary of Modern TourismMy Profile

    • Heather Cole

      19.03.2016 at 05:45 Reply

      Couldn’t agree more, immersion is the best and quickest way to learn, and so much more enjoyable than a couple of hours a week in a classroom at home. I did the same learning Spanish and it’s so much easier when it’s in real context. Next challenge is Portuguese, wish me luck!

      • Serendipity Tess

        19.03.2016 at 15:52 Reply

        Hey Heather, I am in the process of learning Portuguese by using Italki! I’m travelling to Portugal in a few weeks and cannot wait to put it into practise 😀

    • Michelle

      19.03.2016 at 08:07 Reply

      Using the language is so important. I figured that just spending a couple months in Mexico and Central America would be sufficient to learn Spanish, and while I can understand a lot more than a could, I’m still at the same level when it comes to speaking (which is not much).

      • Serendipity Tess

        19.03.2016 at 15:52 Reply

        Yeah – i spent three months in Portugal and thought I would pick it up really quickly – you definitely need language classes alongside the social aspects of language learning.

    • Lillie

      19.03.2016 at 08:15 Reply

      I completely and utterly agree with you that the most effective way to learn a language is intensive language lessons in a country where the language is spoken. I took French in the U.S. for 12 years and never got close to fluent, but after 3 months of intensive Spanish in Mexico, I went from level 0 to the highest level of Spanish classes when I returned to my U.S. university. Soooo efficient — and so fun, too!
      Lillie recently posted…Lovely Vineyards of the Finger Lakes, New YorkMy Profile

    • Tonya

      19.03.2016 at 08:40 Reply

      I certainly agree, going to a country is the best way to pick it up. I would also recommend conversation clubs, where two people can learn from each other’s native language.

      • Serendipity Tess

        19.03.2016 at 15:53 Reply

        Yeah – something like Italki works really well for that purpose! 🙂

    • Hugo

      19.03.2016 at 11:19 Reply

      Learning the language in an environment where it’s widely spoken is definitely the best way to do it. Even if you don’t move abroad for a longer period of time to learn a language, it’s still the best way to be exposed to it and to pick it up faster.

      For those looking for a challenge, learning a new language is one of the best things one can do to improve and gain new skills!
      Hugo recently posted…Trinidad: a burst of colours under the rainMy Profile

    • Meg Jerrrd

      19.03.2016 at 17:21 Reply

      I totally agree with you, if I’m learning a new language I think diving in the deep end and immersing yourself in a new country is the best thing to do too. You’re almost forced to learn it if you want to get by, and don’t have any excuses or distractions as you do when trying to learn in a classroom. So this really is the best way!

      Sadly I usually get to another country and then the locals want to try and learn their English by speaking my language to me haha
      Meg Jerrrd recently posted…The Time I Ate Thai Food in the ArcticMy Profile

      • Serendipity Tess

        22.03.2016 at 05:30 Reply

        I made similar experiences when trying to practise a language abroad haha!

    • Natalie Deduck

      19.03.2016 at 23:28 Reply

      For sure, travelling is the best way to learn a new language! As you said it´s a 24 hour challenge, where our brain needs to cope with a different language during daily life activities. I have studied English for 6 years, when I was a teenager in Brazil, but I only got it right when I moved to Ireland and lived there for 2 years. The best compliment I could receive was that my Brazilian accent was changing, and my English was becoming very irish… hahaha
      Happy travels and keep learning new things!
      Nat
      Natalie Deduck recently posted…Thai Islands: 11 Reasons to Travel to Paradise at Least Once in a LifetimeMy Profile

      • Serendipity Tess

        21.03.2016 at 09:21 Reply

        Oh I love the Irish accent 🙂 You must have the sexiest accent ever! Brazilian-Irish – how awesome 🙂 It’s crazy how our brains soak up accents though…I first practised English in Namibia Southern Africa and I had a South African accent for a long time. I still have a bit of a an accent but it is slowly disappearing after living in London for so many years!

        Happy Travels to you too!

    • Mar Pages

      21.03.2016 at 00:33 Reply

      I completely agree, I sometimes wish I could stay in a country just to learn the language! The constant exposure makes all the difference, you have no choice but to actively listen and practice with every interaction. It has to be the best tip for language learning out there!

      • Serendipity Tess

        21.03.2016 at 09:11 Reply

        Hey Mar, yeah – i also think it’s the best way – it’s important to lose this fear of speaking to locals too! As it can be quite daunting at first but locals actually really like it when you attempt to speak their language 🙂

    • Curious Claire

      22.03.2016 at 04:10 Reply

      I’ve been trying to learn a language for so long but I always end up failing. When you learn at home it’s far too easy to get distracted and give up. Maybe a nice tour around France is what I need. Thanks for the motivation 🙂
      Curious Claire recently posted…What I’ve Learned from 1 Year of BloggingMy Profile

      • Serendipity Tess

        22.03.2016 at 14:29 Reply

        Good Luck with your plans Claire and keep us posted 🙂 France is ALWAYS an excellent idea! 🙂

    • Cristen Sullivan

      30.03.2016 at 08:56 Reply

      Love this. I studied french for four years (my minor) in University and NOTHING was better than moving to France to learn the language.

    • Helen Wilson

      29.06.2016 at 06:17 Reply

      Hey!!

      It a nice share…

      Well, after reading this I must say that students may also learn a new language through conventional course, although courses that meet more frequently are much more effective.

      A lot of foreign language teachers and tutors agree that immersion is a great way to learn a new language. Immersion courses in the country that the language is spoken are extremely valued, because students have to use the language beyond the class as well as in it.

      Thank you so much for sharing your great ideas..
      Keep doing good work..
      God Bless U!!

      • Serendipity Tess

        02.07.2016 at 23:46 Reply

        Hello Helen, thank you so much for your lovely comment! I’m actually in South America at the moment practising the Spanish I learnt over a two-week intensive Spanish course in Costa Rica — I’ve learnt so much – it’s unbelievable 🙂

    • Lopes Nunes

      21.06.2017 at 11:20 Reply

      Actually … the best way to learn a new language is to go to another country. It’s easy enough … for sure!

      • Serendipity Tess

        23.09.2017 at 18:35 Reply

        Not sure if it’s easy haha…Been a year and I’m still not mastering Spanish…I’m getting there though haha 🙂

    • Marcel

      07.10.2017 at 19:40 Reply

      I love languages! I will be doing one of these travel for self development in 6 weeks, going to France for 6 months! It sounds like you had a great experience with it, so I’m looking forward to it even more now!
      Marcel recently posted…Shakira – Addicted To You – Lyrics English and SpanishMy Profile

    • Sharon

      28.11.2017 at 22:36 Reply

      Very easy moving out of your comfort zone while traveling and languages are one of those things that hold you up.
      Thank you very much for the great hints and tips. Excellent.
      Sharon recently posted…2018 Seiko Automatic SKX007K – The most affordable divers watch!My Profile

    • Jo Richards

      14.05.2018 at 04:43 Reply

      I couldn’t agree with you more. I have tried weekly Spanish lessons in my home country, but it was not a success. Only being able to converse in this new language once a week was less than ideal. I now plan on working in Argentina for a few months. I’m sure being forced to speak Spanish every day will make it virtually impossible not to seriously improve my grip on the language.
      Jo Richards recently posted…13 Best Inflatable Kayaks & Canoes 2018 (Buying Guide)My Profile

    • Kerala

      15.05.2018 at 06:47 Reply

      You have to communicate with the number of person to learn a new language and tour is one of the best way to spend time with stranger. You can meet with lots of person during your tour. I also planning my tour during my weekend to know more about the culture and history of the place. It provides you an exciting fun.
      Kerala recently posted…Kerala honeymoon tour packages from TrivandrumMy Profile

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