IDEAS

    Studying a Language Abroad: Tips to Get You Started

    After three years of studying the Spanish language, it was time to start living it. I decided to pack my bags and head to Andalucía, living for nine months amongst the flamenco and fervour of the streets of Sevilla.

    Sevilla
    Sevilla

    By enrolling at Clic – a language school where all classes operated in the native tongue – I was able to fine-tune my Spanish through the method of total immersion. Talking everyday with native speakers and surrounding myself in all elements of Spanish culture enriched my confidence in the language and saw my skills develop at a quicker rate than ever before.

    Any linguist will agree that immersion is key in the path to fluency and if you are serious about becoming proficient in your language, it is wholly encouraged that you spend a substantial amount of time studying at a language school abroad. A radical move it may seem but packing your bags and moving to a new country need not be as daunting as it sounds – here are a few tips to help you set yourself up for your adventure abroad.

    Finance

    If you are looking to study at a school for a longer period of time, it is essential to think about how you are going to finance your stay. Language school fees can be steep and on top of accommodation and the general cost of living, your expenses will add up.

    Most schools offer the option of day or evening courses which accommodate students looking to find various types of employment while they study. During my time in Sevilla, I worked as a waitress in the evenings which was a perfect way of sharpening my language skills in a fast-paced, quick-thinking environment. Another popular choice for students is to opt for evening classes and work as a Language Assistant within a Spanish school during the day.

    Sevilla language school
    Sevilla language school

    It is possible not to work while you study however, in this scenario, it would be wise to consider taking out a loan to cover you for the period of time that you will be staying in the country – some loans are specifically tailored to long trips abroad.

    In order to earn some extra cash in hand, it is also a good idea to take advantage of your native language and tutor English in your free time. It will surprise you how far this extra money will go – covering weekly food shops or your bus fare for the week.

    Accommodation

    Most schools are more than happy to arrange accommodation for their students; offering the option to live at the student residency with other classmates or the option to stay in a private suite if you would prefer to stay alone.

    Some schools will also offer to set up their students with host-families. Food is included in this option and the family only speak to their guests in their native tongue which will further bolster your learning.

    Sevilla accommodation
    Sevilla accommodation

    If you are studying at a school within a university city, there will always be a host of students advertising vacant rooms in their flats. I found my flat on EasyPiso – a website which allowed me to suss out the neighbourhoods that would best suit my needs and interact with potential flatmates before heading out to Spain.

    Meeting people

    One of the best parts of your experience will undoubtedly be the people that you meet along the way. Class numbers are small at most language schools – usually never exceeding more than seven or eight students – and are made up of a variety of nationalities. Between seeing each other in class, evening activities and, in some cases, sharing living space; bonding quickly with your classmates is inevitable. For me, the ability to communicate with this nationally diverse group of individuals through a common foreign language was one of the most rewarding aspects of studying a language abroad.

    Sevilla meeting people
    Sevilla meeting people

    Before you go, it would be a good idea to connect with your language school online. Most schools have a strong presence on social media which allows you to find and chat with others who will be studying at the same time as you.

    If you are heading to a university city, I would suggest joining exchange student groups on Facebook that are specific to your city. Through these groups, you are able to meet native and foreign students alike who are always keen to engage in language exchanges.

     

    MikiMo
    MikiMo
    I have spent the past 15 years in the travel industry. Today focused on promoting different ways of traveling, I'm in the process of creating few travel websites, which will be launched shortly. I have a great passion for travel and the travel industry. My goal here atTtripOutlook is to connect to other proffessionals in the travel industry and to exchange experience.

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