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Top tips to make the most out of your experience abroad

If you’re living an experience in a foreign country, far away from your family and friends, I bet you have already been given some advice. I will try to give you some original tips that you probably didn’t think about before. Sure you have to avoid speaking in your native language, to read news in the local language and watch subtitled movies in their original version. I am sure that you will try your best to follow these usual tips, although everybody knows that it is not so easy. Here are some other daily tricks that will give you the opportunity to improve your English level, or the language of the country you are in.

First of all, keep a notebook to register every word you learn and especially every expression with the context in which you learned it. You can invent some funny games as well. I will share mine with you: I find it difficult to memorize a word just by hearing or writing it once, so repetition is my best way to learn a word. So every time I want to write a new word on my notebook and I find out that I already had, I ask a friend to give me a funny forfeit. You will realise that there are a lot of words that you have already heard – more often than you can imagine – and the funny situation will help you learn this word. Studying the etymology of the word you are learning could be another trick to memorise it better. You will find out that a lot of words’ constructions are similar to other words that you already know.

It is also a good idea to download an application on you phone, to translate quickly the words you don’t understand in a conversation. Writing a word on your phone is faster than looking for it in your pocket dictionary. Everyone knows that after one week abroad we forget about our dictionary because we spend too much time searching on it. And you know what? Today’s technology is wonderful and allows you to find translation apps with voice option. You don’t have to write the word, you can just pronounce it and your phone will find the translation quickly. Be careful though, because there are a lot of bad apps.

It is important to create a “routine” with some additional funny tasks. After some time indeed you will try to avoid working in English if you can. But if you plan some stuff it will be easier and funnier for you. For example, you can read an article from The New York Times every day (The Economist after a few weeks or months), watch at least two films in original version per week, put post-it notes on your room or your kitchen to memorise some objects like wardrobe, chest of drawers, shelf etc. I suggest you write these on a paper to make sure you will do it.

Finally, keeping a journal can help you improve your written English skills while putting your feelings on a paper. After your experience, it will be your best memories.

Now, you know some little tricks to improve easily your English level while you are living in a foreign country… Go ahead!

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