Learning a foreign language is no mean feat. It takes time, dedication, self-motivation and persistence.
When it comes to relocation, learning the language of the new country as part of your preparation can be a practical and rewarding undertaking, putting you at a real advantage from the moment you set foot within your adopted culture.
When moving to a new country, one of the biggest concerns is how easy it will be to integrate. While there are many factors that come into play, speaking the language of the target country can help significantly. Showing that you are willing to learn an entirely new language give the impression of being willing to fully embrace the new culture. This level of effort can be extremely flattering to the residents of the new country and help endear yourself to them from the get-go.
Learning a new language is a superb way to show steadfast commitment to the host country as well respect for it.
Further benefits come with speaking the second language in your place of work. Regardless of whether the ‘Lingua Franca’ at work is English, the majority of staff members won’t be. Being able to speak their language will benefit you both professionally and socially. After work drinks, for example, will be far more enjoyable when you can understand and join in with the anecdotes and jokes without having to wait for someone to explain them to you.
Using a host country’s own language at work can also do well to increase your chances of moving up in the company. A lack of foreign knowledge when working abroad can often be crippling to professional progress.
Integrating into a new country can be hard for children. The more you can improve a child’s chance of making new friends and transitioning smoothly into a new school, the more successful the relocation will be. There is also evidence to suggest that children who learn a second language perform better academically.
Children are often able to acquire a second language much faster than adults so they are actually at an advantage in this respect.
Dr Rhona Hart, an accomplished relocation trainer and counsellor, specialising in professionals and their families moving abroad has some great advice on helping children to learn a second language.
One of the most exciting parts of moving to a new country is the exploration of your new surroundings. Whilst English might get you by, speaking the native tongue will make the experience an easier and potentially more enjoyable one.
Learning a language is about more than just being able to converse in it. It’s about fully immersing yourself in that target culture. With language learning comes a level of understanding that can be hard to attain by alternative methods. Though it is a large investment of time and often money, it is worth serious consideration when moving to a new country.