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Breaking Barriers

The Great Language Barrier

The Great Language Barrier

 

 

They say that obstacles are what you see when you take your eyes off the goal. Well, foreign languages are one of these cases, and even a favorite subject of almost any obstacle-finder... So yes, theoretically if one does enough, no foreign language is a big problem, but that’s not what I am going to write about today. I’m not a fan of memorizing vocabulary. What I want to tell you is that in this case, that famous struggle and hard work aren’t the only way to succeed. Let’s quickly look at what we can do better.

 

My first point is that necessity makes the master. If you all the time need to order your meal, ask the way around the city or find out which is the best library / gym / canteen around, maybe the first week or two will be challenging, but then one day you realize you have been speaking a Foreign Language without even thinking about it. Not the phrases they taught you at school, you will be speaking the language that is actually useful to you.

 

The second thing which might not be obvious before one gets in the real situation is the big difference between language classes (with maybe even really good teachers), and doing something for real in an authentic environment of a foreign university, be it writing a thesis or going to a party. This difference is only essential. Because whatever you will be doing when studying abroad, it will be you and only you doing it. It’s no boring or irrelevant courses memorizing vegetables names at absurd times of the day. You will do what you yourself find or consider useful, and you bet you are going to remember that stuff almost immediately! Language courses anywhere have this little problem that all the situations are actually pretended, sometimes despite we are trying and want to be good at the class, deep down we are bored because the situation isn’t real, and if we don’t realize it, our brains do. That’s not the case when you take yourself to the real situation, talking in that foreign language about things which actually interest you. This experience is one of the great things education abroad will give you.

 

Another part of this almost magic is that getting through a study program in a foreign country, you will stop measuring important things (like languages) by grades or by number of courses taken, they will become the tools to use for moving towards your goals in life.

 

Stay tuned to read about more things studying abroad will bring you in our coming post on Thursday!

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