Here in the U.S. foreign language study is not stressed nearly enough. Too many of us assume everyone in the world can speak English. Yet learning another language, if even just a few words, can go such a long way when you travel.
With a little local vocabulary you can order a meal, find the nearest toy store and tell a taxi where you want to go. When your children know a few local phrases they can find comfort in their new surroundings, chat with other kids and impress their friends when they get back home.
In an effort to enlighten others and myself to the many ways you can learn a language with your kid before you head out on your next trip, whether it be short or long term, I started a weekly series called Language Learning. I’ve tapped into a group of fellow travelers and friends who have realized the importance of language in today’s world. They are teaching themselves so they can better communicate while abroad. Parents are giving their children a few tools to add to their travel belt.
One thing I hope to gain from this series, and to pass on to you all, is a broad range of techniques that individuals and families implementing to communicate with the people around them. There is no one way you can absorb a language these days. Flashcards, textbooks, tutors and schools are only the tip of the iceberg.
How’s this going to work?
Every Monday I will be posting about learning a language. Some will be guest posts and personal stories that others have shared about their own struggles and triumphs. I’ll also be looking at simple tips and tricks to get your family involved in the process and excited to get going. Check back on Travel Tips Tuesdays for easy tips, phrases and more.
This is a big project for me. I’m not looking for fluency in the next 5 months. I have two small kids after all. I’m sure it’s possible to learn a language to some degree that quickly, but I also have to live in my reality; dirty diapers, weekly outings and figuring out what the heck to serve for dinner tonight.
Here are a few helpful links to get your language adventure off the ground.
- Finding Time to Study
- Flashcards and Other Games
- Harnessing the Power of YouTube
- Take Advantage of Your Local Coffee Shop
Books and Movies
- Diving Into Another Language Through Picture Books
- Summer Beach Reads
- Language Learning: Read the Subtitles…or Not
Interviews and Guest Posts
- Learning Mandarin: Week 1 | We Try to Learn Chinese in China by Travels with a Nine year Old
- How Does a Trilingual Kid Learn English by Travel Experta
- Learning Irish Gaelic by Ireland with Kids
- Learning Another Language: 3 Books You Must Read by International Cravings