Most students have to learn (or try to learn) a foreign language in high school as part of their yearly curriculum. But as we all know, nothing beats taking your classroom studies on the road. Practicing a foreign language in its native country is the best way to become a linguistics master. Once abroad, however, you may find stumbling through words and sentences completely frustrating. Hopefully, this list of quick linguistic tips will help.
1. Do your homework: Research the country you are planning to visit and learn some of the slang/basic phrases ahead of time.
2. Get study materials: Pick up an English translation dictionary for reference. You will need it!
3. Download a few language apps: Google Translate is just one of the many useful travel apps available for iPhone and Android. It can translate whole paragraphs of text or even just spoken words. Simply say a phrase in English and the app will repeat your words in the foreign language where traveling.
4. Go to school: You may find it helpful to take a few language classes while abroad. This is exactly what Winterline’s students will be doing while spending several weeks in Central America in Costa Rica.
5. Immerse yourself! Meet as many people as you can and talk to them without reverting to English (or your native language).
6. Practice the language: While abroad, speak the language every chance you get. Winterline’s students will also be living in a homestay for part of their experience; the perfect environment to practice, practice, practice.
7. Be patient; it will come.
You may find that navigating a foreign city, deciphering a menu, or simply attempting to barter in a bustling market challenging. Follow these simple steps, though, and you will soon find yourself communicating and interacting like a local. Well, hopefully close.