Moving to a different country is an exciting experience that also provides an excellent opportunity to learn new life skills, such as learning a new language. This may appear to be a difficult undertaking at first (and many assignees express concern about language hurdles), but fear not: there are numerous tools and tactics that will have you conversing with the locals in no time!
Before You Depart!
Immersion in the language will improve your language skills dramatically, but how can you prepare before you go?
You don't have to look any further than your smartphone to improve your listening, reading, writing, and speaking skills in a new language; apps like Duolingo and Babel are designed to assist you with a variety of different activities so you can improve your listening, reading, writing, and speaking skills in a new language.
YouTube can also be quite useful; for example, channels such as 'Easy Languages' show residents discussing a range of topics with subtitles in both English and the native language. If you're having trouble keeping up with the pace of the videos, slowing down the video speed will give you more time to absorb everything.
Another idea is to change the language when watching TV shows or films; you can do this by changing the subtitles, and this is an easy method to pick up pronunciation and the emotion behind the words you'll use in your new language.
When You Get Here!
Now that you've arrived in your new location, you're anxious to learn more about it, but where do you start?
Classes with a native speaker can be an excellent method to improve your language abilities because learning alongside others can be motivating and provide opportunities to meet new people. You'll be able to talk with classmates who are studying at the same level as you and improve your language skills together.
Classes may also provide you with the opportunity to make friends with native speakers from whom you can learn topics that aren't covered in class, such as colloquial language, slang, and idioms, which will actually help you adapt to the local culture.
Local TV and radio are also excellent resources for learning the accent and hearing people speak about current events. Whether you're completely engaged in what you're listening to or just want some background noise, this can be really handy.
Get out there and continue to practise!
Speaking to locals in a language you don't know can be nerve-wracking, but virtually everyone will be pleased that you are at least trying! It's vital to remember that any mistakes you make are an opportunity to learn and will provide fodder for future jokes.
The most important thing is to persevere; learning a new language takes time, but daily practise will pay off in the long term. Many multilingual people will tell you that consistency is crucial — consistent daily practice and effort will pay off in the end.
Have fun, and remember that you won't have to study the language again after you've mastered it!