10 ways to get the most out of your language holiday abroad

1. Take a dictionary, pens and some paper…it might sound obvious but some people do forget!

2. If it’s a while since you’ve tried to learn a language, or this is you first attempt, maybe try to familarise yourself with some basic grammatical terminology beforehand. Some grammar will be covered in the lessons, and whilst it will all be explained to you properly, it might be helpful for you to know the basics that span all languages (i.e what is a ‘noun’, ‘adjective’, ’verb’ etc), just so you don’t feel confused by the terminology.

3. If you’re a complete beginner, you might want to have a look at a phrasebook just so you know the basics – hello, thank you, please etc – this will be especially beneficial if you’re staying with a host family.

4. Make sure you know what time you’re supposed to be there on the first day. Often there is a language level test when you first arrive, and missing that might delay you being able to start your lessons straight away.

5. If you’re going to a country that is quite culturally different to yours, it might be worth reading up on a little cultural etiquette, again especially if you will be staying with a host family. The majority will be used to having foreigners stay with them, and will be aware of different cultural practices, but to save your own embarrassment it might be wise!

6. Make the most of excursions and outings on offer – having a local guide to these places can be priceless, and any extra chance you can get to speak or hear the language will be beneficial.

7. Do as the locals do. Try to fit in and experience life in a different country and adapt as much as possible – this means resisting the urge to spend every evening at the local Irish pub!

8. If you feel you’re in the wrong level class for whatever reason, don’t be afraid to say…and the sooner the better. The same goes for your accommodation – if you have any problem, however minor, with your host family/residence/hotel let the accommodation officer know as soon as possible as they’ll be able to help you straight away.

9. Make as many contacts as you can. Even if you’re only there for a week, chances are you’ll meet some nice people who have the same interests as you. Keeping in touch with them will be great for both you and them to practise the language.

10. Keep your notes in good order. Doing homework on the beach and carrying your notes around on excursions is not always conducive to them being legible at the end of the course! You’ll learn so much during your time there that it’s important not to forget – having legible and concise notes will mean you can revise what you learnt whenever you want to.

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