Improving your Foreign Language Skills
There is no better way to learn a language than by being immersed in the culture of its native speakers. Studying Spanish in Spain, French in France and English in the United States gives you the opportunity to learn a foreign language where it originated, allowing you to speak the language fluently and in its purest form. Two Worlds United Study Abroad programs allow you to live with a carefully selected host family in the country of your choice. During your program you will develop your language skills as a member of the society thus learning common expressions and learning to communicate in all of the day to day situations that arise.
Studying the language before your departure is very helpful and knowing some basics of the new language will help you to get along in every situation throughout your exchange experience. It will allow you to be more comfortable in your host family, meet more people, enjoy more activities and be more independent.
Studying and living in a foreign country is the best way to learn a new language. Speaking the language will make your host family and friends proud of you, and it will allow you to explain details to others about yourself, your family and your home country. When you've come to know the language well you will feel an accomplishment and pride at having mastered such a difficult task.
Developing language skills is a gradual process. Studying language in school is one of the best ways to prepare to be an international exchange student and to develop your language skills. Try to do the best you can in class because by putting in effort to learn language in class you will really train yourself to put in effort while you are actually abroad speaking the new language as an international exchange student. While you can not learn everything in class, it is essential to have the basic vocabulary and grammatical rules to fall back on
A good way to prepare for your experience abroad is to make a notebook including all of the elements of language you have covered in class or learned on your own when studying. Divide the notebook into parts: nouns, verbs, pronouns, common expressions, etc. Make the section on verbs detailed, conjugate each verb into all forms and make a small table for each verb with all of its conjugated forms.
Very important, buy a few (2 or 3, a small one to carry in your pocket or purse and a larger one to use while studying) two-language dictionaries before you leave home. The two-language dictionaries you may find in your host country may not entirely represent your native language or you may have trouble to find one at all.
Remember, as important as language skills are listening skills. To be able to get involved in the new culture you will need to listen very carefully to the people around you. Practice remembering what was said and the sounds of the words even if you don't know the meaning of each word that was said. Carry a pocket dictionary of an electronic language translator to help you find the words that you are looking for to express yourself.
Also remember always that if you make a mistake with your words and people laugh at an incorrect word or expression, they are not laughing at you or at the fact that you made a mistake. They are laughing at the words and at the way in which the words were used together. You may accidentally put words together that make an amusing idea to hear, but people enjoy that you are learning their language, and they are there to help you learn. If you are unsure if what you have said is correct, ask someone, people enjoy teaching others about their own language.
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