So, you’re traveling to a foreign country, and you’re wondering if you should take language classes? Well, I’m here to tell you that you definitely should!
In my experience, the more you know the native language, the more you will enjoy exploring and learning about the country. Learning the native language will only better your experience abroad because it will help you better understand your surroundings, make new friends, give you a new valuable skill, and make you feel less lost and alone in the foreign country.
During the first month of my Work & Travel in Argentina program, I decided to take Spanish classes every Monday through Friday from 9:30 am to 1:30 pm and work in the evenings. I had to schedule this with my hostel, but they were glad I wanted to learn Spanish, so it wasn’t a problem. This made for very long days, but it was absolutely worth it.
And, although I already knew some Spanish, I still wanted to learn more, especially in a Spanish country with native Spanish speakers as teachers. This way I wouldn’t just learn Spanish, but I would also learn about the culture.
I learned A LOT during those 4 weeks, and I am now able to have full conversations with locals, which means I can fully enjoy my work and travel experience in Argentina.
However, even though learning the native language in a foreign country is vital (in my opinion), it’s not easy (at all). You may think you can get around just knowing a few words and sentences (well you can, and you will get to where you need to go). But, you won’t be able to fully enjoy your experience because you’re always going to be looking for someone to translate. Your experience in a foreign country will be limited to how much people want to translate for you.
I know this from experience. When I first arrived in Argentina with my basic level of Spanish, I wasn’t very confident and I quickly realized that it wasn’t enough; I didn’t want to spend my whole trip saying, “What?” or, “Could you repeat that?” I wanted to be able to know what was happening around me without needing to find someone to translate for me.
So, I decided to fully immerse myself in the language. I took Spanish classes for a month, I forced myself to try to speak only Spanish, and I attentively listened when people spoke.
And, after FULLY immersing myself in the language, I’ve become much more confident in my new skill and even “almost” fluent, which has really helped me enjoy and experience all that Argentina has to offer.
At first, it was very difficult to train my brain to think and speak Spanish EVERY DAY, but now it’s become a habit. It took a while to form, but it was worth it. Now that I can speak Spanish, I feel like I’m constantly learning new words. It’s true what they say: “The more you know, the more you’ll learn!”
So, in conclusion, if you are traveling abroad to a country with a different native language, I HIGHLY recommend taking language classes in the country for the full immersion experience. It will help you learn more, faster and be able to enjoy the full experience of being in that country.
Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy your next adventure!