Best ways to learn a new language before going abroad

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If you ask someone what the five things at the top of their bucket list are, more often than not, traveling will be one of them. With technology upping its pace and the world at our fingertips, people are feeling the itch to immerse themselves in a different culture. Traveling is exciting and deeply rewarding in so many ways, but it also takes a great deal of patience and preparation. This includes learning how to communicate in a foreign language.

Learning a new language is so much more than sitting in a classroom and reading a textbook. Put Rosetta Stone aside because if you implement the following simple practices in your language-learning journey, you’ll learn more than you ever thought you could.


Memorizing vocab is one of the most important aspect of learning a new language, and flashcards are the ultimate hack to remembering anything. Buy multicolored index cards, assign a different category to each color and start to write down words and their translation.

Carry a pocket dictionary

Once you start studying, you’ll want to keep expanding your vocabulary. This will help you develop a deeper curiosity along with a stronger urge to translate everything you see. In these situations, a pocket dictionary with translations will definitely come in handy.

Listen to music

Spice up your playlist with foreign music! Listening to music in a different language can strengthen your comprehension, which is useful for when you’re out and about in a country.

Watch TV shows and movies

Once you’re familiar with the vocabulary, you should watch foreign television shows and movies. These will teach you how to understand what someone is saying not only verbally, but through their body language and facial expressions as well. You can turn on the English subtitles at first, but see how well you can follow the dialogues and understand the plot without it.


As creepy as this may seem, listening closely to other people’s conversations and translating what they said is one of the best ways to sharpen your comprehension abilities. If you’re still preparing to go abroad, try translating English conversations to a different language. You’ll be surprised at how much you know.

Talk to the locals

Although you may not speak perfect Portuguese, locals may appreciate it when tourists make the effort to interact with them in their own language. This is the best way to practice everything you’ve learned and, if you meet a local who’s nice enough to help you in the process, your journey to fluency will be much more rewarding.

Learning anything new can be challenging, so patience is essential to progress. Don’t let fear hinder your motivation, though, because you’ll soon find that learning a new language can lead to endless possibilities.

Contact Claudia Marie Huynh at [email protected].

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