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There are already so many things to worry about when moving overseas. You need to renew your passport, sort out your visa, pack, move, settle into a completely different country, get used to a whole new culture… Moving companies like Transparent International NYC can help you with some of this by making your relocation easier. But there are some things that you just have to do on your own. Overcoming language barriers after moving is one of those things. And it is certainly not an easy one. However, with some dedication and a bit of hard work, everything is possible.
Overcoming language barriers after moving is one of the biggest challenges of moving abroad
We often take it for granted that we can speak to, understand, and be understood by everyone we meet when we’ve lived our whole lives in one country. But if you’re moving from USA to Europe soon, all that is about to change. Despite being the most widely spoken language in the world as of 2020 and being the official language of more than 50 countries (primarily in Africa and Oceania), English is not what the majority of Europeans, Asians or Latin Americans primarily use daily. Odds are, therefore, that you are moving to a country where most people don’t communicate primarily in English. This can affect your life in ways you don’t even expect:
- going places will be harder because you won’t be able to read signs or ask for directions
- buying things will be more difficult because you might not be able to tell what they are, read instructions or communicate with staff
- making friends will be harder when you don’t have a common language
- finding a job will be more difficult if you can’t communicate with others easily
As you can see, the language barrier will affect many of your everyday tasks. And that’s on top of all the other challenges of moving that you’ll need to face. Because your relocation isn’t over after your international household movers deliver your belongings and leave – you still need to settle in. This will take time and energy which will, in turn, make it more difficult for you to focus on learning a new language.
The guide to overcoming language barriers after moving
If you want to overcome the language barrier after moving to a different country, you need to learn the language. It will help you fit in and live a fulfilling life, especially if your relocation is permanent. Of course, that’s easier said than done. So here are some tips on how to learn a new language when moving.
Start learning before the move to prepare better
With all the chaos of moving, you might not have the time, energy, or money to start learning a new language at the same time. But on the off chance that you do, it’s a good idea to get a head start. If you’re lucky enough to be moving to a Spanish-speaking country, odds are you will at least be somewhat familiar with the language. But if you’re moving from USA to Norway, for example, it’ll be difficult to start from scratch after the move. And if you’re moving to an Eastern European, Middle Eastern, or East Asian country, you might even have to learn a new alphabet. In such cases, it’s best to familiarize yourself at least a bit with the language before you even move.
Immerse yourself in the culture and absorb the language naturally
Do you remember how you learned English? Probably not, because you never took lessons or studied – you simply absorbed it through listening to it all the time! You can try the same tactic with a new language by immersing yourself in it. Luckily, this won’t be too hard after you move. You’ll be surrounded by it. You can also contribute by watching movies and TV in your target language and reading the news.
Use online tools or sign up for lessons
For most adults, simple immersion is not enough to learn a language. We usually need something just a bit more structured, to learn how to read and write the new language and get the ground rules of grammar. So don’t just rely on passive learning – sign up for language courses if you can find any or use an app like DuoLingo to learn and practice. But don’t let those replace organic learning either: a combination of both is the recipe to success.
Practice makes perfect
The only way to learn a language and to make sure you don’t forget it is to practice, practice, practice. Use every opportunity you have to converse in your target language – order for yourself in restaurants, ask for directions without defaulting to English, go out to events, and introduce yourself to people. It won’t be easy at first. People may notice that you’re struggling and speak English to you with good intentions. But you need to use the language you’re learning as much as possible – otherwise, you’ll never actually learn it!
Don’t be afraid of mistakes and don’t give up
You should make your peace with the fact that you won’t be good at a new language immediately. You’ll probably make a lot of mistakes and you won’t know enough words to properly express yourself. But you shouldn’t let that get you down! Everyone starts like that. However, with dedication and work, you can become fluent and overcome the language barrier. You just have to persevere and not give up.
Overcoming language barriers after moving can be a fun adventure!
While learning a new language is certainly not easy, you shouldn’t think of it as a big problem. Rather, consider it an opportunity. Overcoming language barriers after moving will open up a whole new world to you. You’ll be able to speak to more people, express yourself in different ways, and live a fulfilling life in a new country. Not to mention, a whole new world of media and art in a new language will open up to you. So have fun with it! Watch TV shows or read books in your target language, make friends by practicing your language skills, and think of this process not as an obstacle to overcome but as a fun adventure.