Trans4mind Home Page

7 Tips Prepping For A Language Program Abroad

By Dorioara Pinku

Whether you know zero vocabulary or you are an advanced speaker in a foreign language, a little preparation can help you get the most out of your immersion language program abroad. Below are some tips from study abroad veterans. Whether you plan to study Spanish, learn Italian, or even become fluent in Japanese, this is advice worth paying attention to.

1. Set Realistic Goals

Learning another language isn't easy for most of us. It takes time, practice and many mistakes. Go into a program with the goal of increasing your communication skills. Don't assume that you are going to perfect the language in so many weeks or months, it's too much pressure.

2. Bolster Your Vocabulary

If you are an absolute beginner, get a phrase book, preferably with a tape to accompany it (check out the Spanish phrase ebook given away at the end of this article). Learn some basics like: "Please", "Thank you", "Where is.. ", "How much... ", etc. Knowing these phrases and some hand gestures will get you by in a crunch. For intermediate or advanced speakers, we recommend learning as much vocabulary as possible before you go, including common idioms. Your language instruction will focus mainly on grammar, conversation and listening. The more vocabulary you have going into the program, the more ways you will get to apply the language.

All participants should bring a comprehensive dictionary, not only a pocket dictionary. Consider a guidebook that has a section listing local colloquialisms. This ensures that you will not travel to Ecuador or try to study in Guatemala with knowledge only of the Spanish commonly used in Madrid or Barcelona. Being prepared for local sayings can help you get the most out of your language classes or study abroad program.

3. Be Able To Conjugate Important Verbs

Learn to conjugate, COLD, those really important verbs like: to wish/want, to be able/can, to be and to go. These kinds of verbs conjugated in the present or past combined with infinitives instantly increase your ability to communicate. If you are an absolute beginner focus on the "I and "you forms of the really important verbs.

4. Think The Language

Don't try and translate everything word for word. It doesn't work. You will drive yourself crazy looking for a word that may not exist in the target language. Recognize the fact that grammar rules will be different. Learn the differences along with the similarities and your understanding of HOW the language works will increase ten fold. Even if you are fluent in Spanish and have spent years studying in Barcelona, if you are going to attend an international language program in Paris you will need to familiarize yourself with a new "thought process for the French language.

5. When In Doubt, "Literature-ize"

This means try to use "larger words. For example, in Spanish, "need doesn't translate but "necessity turns into "necesidad", "requisite becomes "requisito and "exigency blossoms into "exigencia". Since these words sound very similar, you will be understood. There are examples like these in all languages.

6. Romance Languages Are Similar

If you know another romance language, you have a leg up on learning Spanish or studying Portuguese. You already know the concept of masculine and feminine words, accent marks, etc. Many words ending in Y like liberty will end with: "ad in Spanish, "e in French, "ade in Portuguese or " in Italian. Similarly, words ending in "ion in English often sound alike, and mean the same thing in Spanish.

Learning Chinese or studying Japanese, Arabic, Hebrew, or Thai can present unique challenges, as the words are so different from what most of us are used to hearing. More time may be necessary to learn these languages, and more pre-trip preparation can be immensely helpful. Regardless of the difficulty level of the language, knowing two or more languages makes any international study program easier, and the benefits of learning an uncommon tongue can far outweigh the drawbacks.

7. Stay Open Minded

The best tool for learning a language at any level is a good attitude. Understanding the culture helps with language acquisition. Don't be afraid to make mistakes, they are great to learn from and can be funny too! A sense of humor really helps.

About The Author
Dorioara Pinku is the co-owner of AmeriSpan, a leader in study abroad and international education since 1993. 85 cities, 35 countries.

From our extensive site, you'll find good info on many topics using this search:

Support your personal development with these popular and effective hypnosis downloads...

  • Public Speaking Fear ~ Banish speaking anxiety and nerves with hypnosis.
  • Motivate Yourself to Exercise ~ Build a powerful exercise habit that you can't break.
  • Get Rid of Fear & Anxiety ~ Stop worry and apprehension wrecking your life.
  • Self Esteem ~ Break the negative trance of low self esteem and give yourself a chance in life.
  • Create Your Own Reality ~ Use the power of your unconscious mind to transform your life.
  • Deeper Self Respect ~ Use hypnosis to connect with your true inner worth.
  • Detach From Fear ~ Tune out nervousness and anxiety with hypnosis.
  • Improving Concentration and Focus ~ Learn how to discipline, direct and command your mind to improve your performance.
  • Exercise Motivation ~ Give you powerful keys to getting back on track with your exercise - and staying there.
  • Overcoming Shyness ~ Provides an invisible security blanket allowing you to develop social ease and overcome shyness.
  • Quick Confidence Booster ~ An audio hypnosis session that's specifically designed to get you (quickly!) back on track.
  • Stop Negative Thoughts ~ Learn powerful hypnotic techniques to stop negative thoughts before they start.
  • Overcoming Procrastination ~ Let hypnosis help you get on with what you need to do, when you need to do it. Let nothing hold you back.
  • Think Thin ~ Use hypnosis to re-train your brain and lose weight naturally... that's how to get and stay slim.
  • Fall Asleep Fast ~ Relearn how to fall asleep fast and enjoy a good night's sleep.
  • The Next Level ~ Designed to radically boost your performance in any field. It's based on a technique used by top athletes and other successful people to help them make a big stride forward.
This is our selection of favorites, but there's a session for every need! Choose from over 800 Hypnosis Downloads...
Search now on an issue that interests or concerns you...

View all the Hypnosis Downloads here

The New Wave in Meditation Technology

Click here to learn more about the iAwake Profound Meditation Program
The iAwake Profound Meditation Program
is a way of enhancing your meditation practice, making meditation not only easier and more enjoyable, but also more efficient and effective.
Profound Meditation provides the smoothest, deepest, richest, most profound meditation experience available anywhere...
Here is a link to a free 20-minute track from iAwake Technologies - a sample of the type of tools that will deepen your meditation immediately and help you quickly become a successful meditator. It's the opening track of iAwake's flagship product, the Profound Meditation Program, called the iAwake Experience...
Learn More and Download the iAwake Experience
We think you'll find this technology a tremendous aid on your transformative journey of becoming your best and most creative self - and you can get started today!
Copyright © 1997-2018 Trans4mind Ltd