One thing we often joke about as Nigerians is the fact that not knowing a language has never stopped a Nigerian from moving to a country. While it can be exciting to move abroad and explore new cultures, we don’t often talk about how difficult it is to interact with a new language, especially in non-English speaking countries.
Learning a new language when traveling can enhance your experience in countless ways, from making new friends to navigating unfamiliar places with ease, it can also take time and be a little difficult at the beginning. In this article, we’ll share ten valuable tips that will make your language-learning journey faster.
Why You Should Learn A New Language As An Immigrant
- It is a practical necessity for you to effectively communicate and integrate into a new society.
- Learning a new language helps to foster your personal and professional growth.
- Learning the new language of your host country helps you to understand the culture, allowing you to connect with the new community.
- It also gives you access to a broader range of job opportunities, making it easier for you to settle in quickly.
- Knowing a language builds your self-confidence and independence in a new environment. This will enable you to navigate your daily life, from simple errands to complex issues.
- Learning a new language is, ultimately, an investment in your future, helping you to build connections, expand your horizons, and fully embrace your new environment.
10 Tips To Help You Learn A New Language Quickly As An Immigrant
- Learn basic phrases before you go
- Take language classes
- Practice with locals
- Utilize language learning apps
- Have a pocket dictionary or a translation app
- Immerse yourself in local media
- Learn through food
- Keep a journal
- Make language learning a daily habit
- Don’t be afraid to make mistakes
Learn Basic Phrases Before You Go
As you are planning to travel, you can start familiarizing yourself with some basic phrases and greetings in the local language of the country you are going to. Learn how to say words and phrases like “hello”, “thank you”, “please”, and “excuse me.” This basic courtesy can be a conversation starter and also go a long way in breaking the ice with locals.
Take Language Classes
Consider enrolling in language classes or workshops offered in your destination. Many cities and tourist areas have language schools or community centers that offer short-term language courses. These structured lessons can give you a basic foundation and boost your confidence.
Practice with Locals
The best way to learn a new language is by engaging and interacting with native speakers. Don’t be shy or afraid to strike up conversations whenever possible. People appreciate the effort you put into learning their language and are often willing to help correct your pronunciation and grammar. What better way to learn than from the people who speak the language from birth?
Utilize Language Learning Apps
One of the many blessings of technology is that it provides simple and easy ways to solve problems. There are many language learning apps such as Duolingo, Memrise, Babbel, Rosetta Stone, Busuu, etc. These apps provide interactive lessons and quizzes that make learning convenient and fun, anytime and anywhere.
Have a Pocket Dictionary or Translation App
It is easy to get used to a word when you know the meaning. Meaning can be ambiguous in different languages. So, carry a pocket dictionary or use a translation app to assist with communication when you’re not sure of a word or phrase. Technology has made it easier than ever to bridge language barriers, so take advantage of these tools.
Immerse Yourself in Local Media
Who still watches the news, right? If you are reading this article, you need it. Watching local TV programs, listening to radio stations, or reading newspapers and books in the local language exposes you to authentic content that can help you understand the nuances of the language and improve your comprehension skills. You don’t need to worry about owning a TV. With a smartphone, you can access these media online.
Learn Through Food
An interesting way to learn a new language as an immigrant is by exploring the different cuisines in that environment. It is an enjoyable way to learn about the culture and language. Try ordering food in the local language at restaurants and ask questions about the dishes. The way food like amala, akara, garri, oha, egusi, etc have a rich history in Nigeria, their cuisine can help you understand their culture and learn the language faster, as you’ll not only satisfy your taste buds but also enhance your skills.
Keep a Journal
Maintain a travel journal in the language you’re learning. Write down your daily experiences, thoughts, and observations. Write down all the new words you learned for the day, and also write down the names of objects and places you come across as you go about your day, This will enhance your language skills and provide a memorable record of your journey.
Make Language Learning a Daily Habit
Consistency is key to language learning success. If you are not consistent, it will be difficult to learn as much as you need. Dedicate a time each day to practice all you have learned, whether it’s through conversation, reading, or using language learning apps. Over time, your skills will improve significantly.
Don’t Be Afraid to Make Mistakes
Finally, remember that making mistakes is a natural part of the learning process. Don’t be afraid to speak, even if you’re unsure. We still make mistakes in our mother tongue, how much more a foreign language. The more you practice even if you make mistakes, the faster you learn because there will be people to correct you, and mistakes are an opportunity to improve.
Learning a new language is not easy but it can be a rewarding experience. If you can learn one, by a means go ahead. It is an opportunity to gain valuable language skills that can last a lifetime. Follow these tips and keep practicing. In no time, you will be communicating in that language. It is important to note that it is more difficult for an adult to learn a second language due to first language interference, so be patient with yourself.