Have you ever noticed that everyday activities become far more interesting when you are travelling abroad? A stroll in the park at home is a rather mundane affair but a stroll in the park in Paris is in Paris, thereby making it one hundred percent more thrilling (and romantic and cultural and ooh la la!). The human brain craves new, shiny things. It thrives on novelty and challenge. Without it, we gradually become uninspired. Which is a shame, as it doesn't have to be that way. If your language coaching journey is stagnating, there's a good chance you need to be kicked into action by travelling abroad and giving yourself some exquisite food for thought.
Now, learning a second (or third or fourth or fifth) language isn't easy. It's rewarding, invaluable even, but by no means easy. It takes commitment and perseverance, study and practice, determination and grit, and did I mention it isn’t easy? Because it isn’t. Easy, that is. One could say that learning a language is decidedly uneasy. Hard, perhaps.
Therefore, having focus is invaluable. And guzzling energy drinks probably won't help as much as you think it will. If you’re intent on getting your heart pounding and reinvigorating those tired old neurons, why not study abroad? What can be more alluring than soaking in a new landscape whilst studying a language you love? The only thing that springs to my mind is Paris, but Paris practically invented allure, so that hardly counts.
I mean, just look at it.
There’s no denying that it’s a thrill to get out there and explore other cultures. That excitement will only aid you in the classroom. Even after the most hectic of holidays travellers return feeling refreshed - because we need crave more than just rest and relaxation. We need to be stimulated by the world around us. We need to read new books and meet new people, hear new jokes and sample new cuisines. By feeding our senses, we restore our ability to focus on the difficult work before us. It is almost if by seeing the bigger picture, we remind ourselves why our studies are so important to us. Language allows us to communicate with other worlds. Bilingualism is a superpower that anyone can gain.
Surrounding yourself with young scholars just like yourself will feed your progress. You'll all feel a shared, communal buzz. After all, everyone is there for the same reason - they have an aspiration they want to fulfill. I know this firsthand - I’ve studied in an international group before in the past, and the experience goes beyond studying in your average classroom. Strangely enough, being fascinated with the lives of others will help you concentrate better when it's time to put in the hard work.
Finally, there’s the immersion factor. Abroad, the classroom won’t be your only opportunity to practice. Say you travel to the United Kingdom to study English - the language will be all around you. Whilst here, you’ll swim in a churning ocean of Britishness.
The likely contents of a churning ocean of Britishness.
Every new interaction, every new location will provide you with brand new opportunities to hone your skills. It might be nerve-wracking at first, leaving home in order to learn something new. But it will be an experience of a lifetime. It won’t only be your language skills that will grow, but your confidence too. And that’s something you definitely couldn’t learn from home.
Written by Sam Kearns, Community Manager.