“To have another language is to possess a second soul” Charlemagne
Few, if any, would argue that learning a second language is ever a bad thing: it opens up a new world of literature, history, politics, and culture that gives you a wonderful insight into fellow speakers of that language. It also offers the unique opportunity to drastically expand the number of people that you can speak to in the world, it enhances your career opportunities in every possible way and offers a myriad of new every day experiences for you to enjoy, savour and conquer. However, it is also true that learning a new language can be incredibly difficult: languages don't always have uniform structures, rules, or sounds which means that to acquire a new language, you will often also have to unlearn many of the assumptions that you have held for a long time. This process is far easier abroad than it is in your own country for a host of different reasons, some of which we will go through in the following paragraphs.
You live the language 24/7
Teachers are generally wonderful people who devote their lives to helping students learn new things. However, as useful as they are, there is only so much that they can do: be it maths, science, English or Spanish, the student will always be the most important factor in the learning process. To really become good at something you have to live it, love it and want to know about it. This is especially true in a language classroom, because no matter how authentic the roleplay or listening exercise, everything is more memorable when you encounter it naturally. When you study a language abroad you actually find yourself in authentic situations where you have to use it: in a supermarket, at the movies or a museum, ordering in a restaurant or even flirting with a local you will actually be speaking and using the language that you are learning. This is not only a more effective way of learning but also provides you with a plethora of ‘free' opportunities to practise outside the classroom. You also get to hear the way that native people talk, get used to their patterns of speech, dialects and accents and really immerse yourself in.
You live the culture
Language is an expression of culture: you only have to look at the huge variety of ways that people say things in languages from around the world to realise that the way people speak is intrinsically linked to their culture. For example, in English, there are more than 250,000 distinct words in the Oxford English Dictionary, a number that excludes certain technical terms, sayings, expressions and regional variations. Many of these words mean the same thing and are only used in certain situations. By living in the country whose language you are learning you gain a unique insight into its cultural heritage.
You make friends
Anyone who has tried to learn a language in their own country will know that it takes incredible self-discipline not to revert back to speaking in one’s native language. Generally, you are meeting new and interesting people and you want to find out as much as you can about them as quickly as possible, thus you ask them questions in your mother tongue. The amazing thing about learning a language abroad is that this is far more difficult, if you learn English in England then your classmates are more likely to be from all around the world, which means that you will have to speak to them in English. There is nothing quite like sharing the experience of learning a new language together and you are virtually guaranteed to make friends for a lifetime. elephant Minds believes that the quality of our teaching is as important as helping you meet those people who will become those friends.
You have the best teachers
When you learn abroad you have unique access to teachers from around the world who have studied and perfected their craft and were born or live in the country whose language they speak. After the you, the student, the teacher sis the most important element of a programme. A kind, professional and passionate teacher will be the motivation and inspiration that will support your progress. elephant Minds has some of the finest teachers in Europe, who are passionate and committed, and ensure you achieve your goals and make the best of your time with us.
You get to live in another country
There is something truly magical about living in another country and it will no doubt help you grow and develop as a person and in your professional career. In your own country, you know the culture, you understand how things work and are generally in your comfort zone. Whereas in a foreign country you will face a whole load of daily challenges and chances to interact with locals and you will have to push yourself to be as good as you possibly can be. Our elephant Minds are passionate about education and excellence and what we do is help you face and conquer these many challenges and thrive.
Patricia C Prada Jimenez & the Blogs Team
Study Abroad with elephant Minds
Contact us for information and we will start you on your journey!