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November 2017

Best Ways to Live Abroad

Go abroad and improve your language skills with these meaningful methods

Living in the country of your target language is the best way to learn the language. Period. But traveling for long periods can be difficult for most people who are busy with work. There needs to be a good reason other than simply living abroad. Thankfully, there are organisations that cater to those hoping to find foreign adventure while seeking also great meaning and purpose.

Take classes

The most obvious excuse to stay in your target language’s country is to study abroad. Of course, studying your target language in its home can dramatically improve your skills. And you aren’t limited to studying just language; historical studies, cooking courses, and other cultural classes can help you better understand your target language, even if you are learning in your native language.

The greater the exposure to your target language, the more you will learn. Studying the language abroad is great because it adds educational context to what you are experiencing. If you have any questions about words or phrases you’ve encountered in your daily travels, you have a reputable source with which to inquire: your teacher.

There are many organisations around the world who cater to students hoping to learn a new language. Your best bet is to search specifically in your desired city for any available language courses. Note that many schools will also provide housing, though they will, of course, cost more. However, it’s a convenience that can really take the stress off of planning.

Teach classes

If there is a need for your native language in your target language’s country, you can put your skills to good use. While teaching in schools requires much studying and certification, there exists less formal agreements such as language exchanges. Often, families will invite foreigners to live with them to teach their kids the invitee’s native languages. GoCambio is a service that offers home stays in exchange for language instruction. You can potentially save a good deal of money using service-sharing methods such as these.

For more formal instruction, you will definitely need to prove your language skills. Language instruction and examination providers like telc can help you achieve your teaching and learning goals by providing tests and training.

Volunteer

Whether you decide to work on an organic farm with WWOOF or decide to embark on cultural volunteering with United Planet, there are many authentic volunteer options for those looking to help abroad. Volunteer organisations differ greatly in terms of what they offer. It’s advised to check reviews for lesser known groups before embarking, just to be sure they are reputable. Many require payment from the applicant, so you will have to budget this into your travel spending as well. The benefit is that housing is often included and the experiences offered are truly meaningful.

Check out Volunteer Forever’s “2018 Best Volunteer Abroad Programs, Organizations, & Projects” guide if you are interested in good volunteer programs in other countries.

Just do it

If you’re finding the above options aren’t for you, or you simply want to save money by traveling on the cheap by yourself, it would not be difficult to acquire a low-cost rental property on the many home sharing services available today (Airbnb, HomeAway, VRBO, etc.). Even a few weeks abroad could help your language skills greatly. And you might even save money, depending on how much cheaper your target language’s country is compared to your own. In the end, it doesn’t take a lot to travel abroad beyond the will, some sacrifice, and lots of inspiration.

How do you prefer to travel abroad? What are your favorite travel services? Let us know on our Facebook Page, and be sure to “like” TELC English for more articles on language learning tips.

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