Sunday, November 26, 2006
The Language Exchange
So you've arrived in the country of choice but you are less than fluent in the local language. You have several options;
You could pay for language lessons. It does help especially if you are a low beginner. However, language lessons can be expensive and have inconvenient hours if you are working everyday.
You could decide to do nothing, with the attitude that the language will just come as, after all, you do live there. This option is very possible but know that language acquisition does not come without active participation. That means you actually have to talk... a lot to reach your language speaking goals.
One way that encourages the activity of speaking is a "language exchange". Here you meet with a native of the country where you live who would like to improve their English. You do an hour of English conversation and an hour of the native language. This method is two-fold; You are increasing your exposure to the native language and culture of your new home but also you are meeting people. One of the struggles of living in a foreign country is making friends who are natives as opposed to your fellow English teachers. Regularly meeting with people for the purpose of exchanging language automatically puts us in a potential social situation. You can meet at a cafe, go to an art exhibit together... anything that promotes conversation. Chances are your language exchange friends have other native friends who would like to meet you as well. What could be better?