Moving abroad? We know you have a long list of things to do. But one thing can make everything else on your list a lot easier. If you aren’t a native speaker of the local language, start having conversation classes ASAP. As corporate language trainers, we see firsthand how important language skills are on international assignments. And also, we’ll tell you when it’s not that important.
Speaking a Foreign Language at Work
Let’s start with the benefits of speaking the local language at work. We’ve seen some expats downplay this. For example, someone who’s relocating from Minneapolis to Mexico City might think that their Spanish classes in college were enough preparation to navigate the city. Or they may figure that they don’t need to learn Spanish because everyone in their new office speaks English.
There’s a big difference, however, between speaking a foreign language in a classroom vs. using it all day, every day with native speakers. Your foreign language courses in school didn’t give you the specialized vocabulary you need for your job. And you probably didn’t get enough conversational practice.
But what if everyone at your office speaks your language in addition to their native language? We still recommend having conversation classes in the local language, for at least 100 hours. This shows respect for your colleagues. It will also help you build relationships at work and feel less like an outsider. Learning the language also helps you understand the culture of your new colleagues. That improves communication and eases misunderstandings.
Speaking a New Language Outside of Work
Language skills matter outside of work, too. This is true even if there’s an expat community from your native country in your new one. When you relocate internationally, it’s only natural to feel lonely sometimes. For some expats, feelings of isolation can be so severe that they cut their international assignment short. Speaking the local language will help you make new friends and feel more at home.
Building your language skills also has great practical value. When you move to another country, there’s a lot to figure out. How does the transportation system work? How do you make a doctor’s appointment? Where’s the post office? Having some fluency in the local language makes everyday obstacles easier to overcome. This will be equally important if you’re moving with your spouse or children.
How to Learn a Foreign Language
So if you’re relocating to a country where you don’t speak the language, how can you prepare? Here are a few tips for efficiently learning a foreign language.
- Opt for classes with a native speaker. Don’t just rely on language-learning apps. (Apps are a great supplement to classes, though.)
- Find an instructor who will customize classes based on your language-learning goals. They should teach you the vocabulary you’ll need to work and manage your daily life — not random phrases from a textbook.
- Ask your instructor to focus on conversational practice. To learn faster, find additional opportunities for conversations in your target language.
- Learn your new country’s culture as you learn its language. (This is another reason it’s important to work with a native speaker.)
- Surround yourself with your target language. For example, change the audio on your favorite Netflix show to the language you are learning.
- Celebrate your progress. You won’t gain the fluency of a native speaker overnight. But everything you learn will help you have a more successful experience in your new country.
Relocate with Ease
Are you planning to relocate to a new country for work but are worried about the language barrier? At Fluency Corp, we understand that the transition can be overwhelming. That’s why we have partnered with Synergy Global Housing to offer language training services that cater to your specific needs and goals, ensuring a smooth and seamless transition.
Our customized language programs are designed to help you learn the local language efficiently and effectively, enabling you to integrate into the local community with ease. You can focus on your work while enjoying a comfortable home away from home and a convenient way to improve your language skills.
Synergy Global Housing’s exceptional accommodations and award-winning customer service provide you with the support and comfort you need throughout your relocation journey. With our combined expertise, you can rest assured that your overall experience will be positive and successful.
If you are relocating to a new country for work, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Let us help you make your move as smooth as possible.