Written in collaboration with Bicortex Languages
Many people wholeheartedly embrace the opportunity to live and work abroad. Providing that your company trusts you with new responsibilities and is committed to investing in your career, relocation represents an excellent way to achieve personal and professional growth. Nevertheless, it can be challenging to settle into a new place for the first time.
By learning the language, you can make the relocation less stressful. It can open up so many doors to you and help you feel far more settled in the new place, not to mention that it can help you earn up to 20% more in your career.
BiCortex Languages have helped 1000s of people achieve amazing satisfaction in their new location by quickly giving them the skills to quickly learn a new language. Below are five tips on how to learn a new language fast.
1. Have language classes early (before you arrive)
Having language classes prior to your time in the host country is essential. Learning before you go gives you the right mentality for entering the new country - you are truly embracing your new adventure! Ideally, these classes should also incorporate cultural awareness training. In this way, you can save yourself the embarrassment of committing cultural mistakes, which is particularly important in the workplace. Indeed, many HR policies require business leaders to undertake cultural training, understanding that a cohesive, cross-cultural team is conducive to business success. BiCortex Languages, which specialises in language and cultural training for expatriates and their families, offers in-person and online lessons. Using a bespoke virtual classroom, lessons are interactive and engaging. You may also get professional support to translate documents.
2. Choose the right language
If you are not yet sure where you are relocating to, and are unsure which language will be most useful, start by taking English classes. Known as the world’s lingua franca, English is most commonly used when interacting with worldwide business teams. French, German and Spanish lessons are also useful if your team is Europe-based. For Asia, knowledge of Korean, Japanese or Chinese will significantly impress your colleagues. Based on the number of speakers, Russian and Arabic will similarly prove advantageous.
3. Practice speaking
Once you are in the host country, do not hesitate to put what you have learnt into practice. While you may not have achieved fluency, meaningful exchanges with others is a proven way to solidify and enhance language learning. You can make yourself understood without perfect grammar or elocution. Hand gestures and visual prompts can equally help you to communicate.
4. Listen to the locals
By listening to the native speakers in your new home, you can get a feel for the common expressions and turns of phrase. Get out into a coffee shop or bar and pretend to read a book, and keep your ears open while on public transport or in an office. Television and radio is another great way to do this. While you may know a language well, you may not be aware of all the recent slang, or the peculiarities unique to the particular region you will be staying in. Pay close attention to the conversations around you, making notes where possible.
5. Make new friends
When you travel, it is natural to seek out those who share your background and language. Although it is tempting to seek out other expats, integration in the culture can only be achieved by stepping out of your comfort zone and trying to make friends outside of the expat community. It is so rewarding to integrate, and will make you feel far more at home Hours of language conversation practice can be achieved over a cup of coffee, or a nice glass of wine at a dinner party. With ample opportunities to meet people from different walks of life, the experience promises to be far more enriching if you follow this tip.
Benefits of moving to a new culture
It can be a great experience for your family
You may be concerned about the possible impacts of moving your families overseas. Changing schools and exposing your children to a new language can seem like daunting prospects. Keep in mind, however, that children are highly adaptable. With their brain primed for new experiences, they easily recover from setbacks and take drastic change in their stride. Living abroad also endows them with highly commendable skills. From learning a second language, to adapting easily to unfamiliar milieu, your children will be ready for any international challenge.
You empower yourself to discover new things
Living abroad can feel like being on a permanent holiday- or at least, a permanent adventure! It allows you to visit new sites, try the local cuisine and experience different traditions. You can also use the host country as a springboard to visit other neighbouring locations that may previously have been distant. Being able to sample various aspects of different cultures helps you understand what you are looking for in a place of residence. Keeping in mind that you are undertaking a unique, enviable experience should help gain some perspective when dealing with some of the more trying aspects of the move.
Overall, living abroad provides you and your family the opportunity to make new friends, experience new things, build your professional network, grow in your career and develop a more global mindset. Such an opportunity is certainly not one to be missed. Forward-planning and research can be helpful, but remember that spontaneity is key when moving to a new country. Accepting the fact that not everything will happen as you envisaged will help you feel more relaxed when the unexpected occurs. Being able to navigate a difficult situation will only make you more resilient and, while it may not seem like it at first, there is always a solution, and you will see that you can make your relocation less stressful.