Make The Effort
Don’t just talk about it. Take action. You are unlikely to become fluent in any language before your holiday but every tiny bit you learn will help.
You will find that almost every attempt to converse in the local language will be met with a better reception than simply launching into English.
Don’t put it off, start today.
Learn On The Move
You can learn a huge amount from Podcasts, audio books or even CDs. If you are lucky enough to have a long daily commute in the car, sit back and learn with every minute you drive. If you are on your own in the car, you even have the luxury of being able to talk along with the lesson.
If you travel on the train or tram, pop in those headphones and concentrate.
If you run or go to the gym, run along to the sweet sound of your language teacher’s voice.
Create a routine
Try to schedule learning at the same each day/week. This will help you stick to it and commit to learning on a longer-term basis.
Talk to Each Other – But Not In English
Why not learn together before you go on your holiday? Then try to get all the members of your group together for a few evenings before you go. Insist that everyone is not allowed to speak English for at least one hour. Get the dictionaries and phrase books out and do whatever you can to communicate in the destination language – without falling back on English.
Throw in some food and drink from the destination of choice and you have a few great nights in together – and a bundle of laughs.
Carry a Dictionary
Take a pocket-sized dictionary/phrase book with you whilst you are out and about on your holiday and use it. It will help you find a way to communicate better and you will be learning more and more as you go. It’s also really handy to have a dictionary around to quickly translate any specialised words on menus, price lists or even signs.
Prepare Conversations In Advance.
This tip is worth its weight in gold. Before you go anywhere, consider the conversation you will be having and read up on the specific words or phrases you may need. Spend half an hour imagining the questions you will have to ask or answer and say them out loud. Maybe even make a few brief notes.
Whether you go to the doctor, pharmacy, police station, car hire shop, bar or restaurant, you will be much better prepared, relaxed and able to make yourself understood.
Let Yourself Go.
Make a conscious effort to get over one of the biggest barriers of all -‘feeling stupid’.
Forget about what others think, take a deep breath and dive right in. Your confidence will grow with every conversation. You will say lots of funny things and get lots of words wrong but you will always be moving forward.
Learn The Top 100 Words
Don’t learn random words in an effort to expand your vocabulary. Focus.
Google the top 100 words in the language you need to master and learn very one of those first. The most common 100 words in any language account for 50% of all spoken, so they will provide you with an incredible foundation.
Learn To Ask For Help
Make a point of learning a phrase like “How do you say ………. in [insert your language here]?” Then, whenever you get stuck in a conversation just roll that phrase out, drop in the English word and see how it goes.
Often you will find yourself flicking through the dictionary with your new friend the bartender, waiter, shopkeeper or passer by. Most people really want to help and more often than not, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by their response.
Apply A Positive Attitude.
Believe you can do it. Stay positive and keep on learning. Never get bogged down with negative thoughts about how much you don’t know but focus on how much you have learned and how well you are doing.