If you are working abroad as an au pair, there is a good chance that one of the reasons you are is to learn a new language. Right? Or you maybe there to perfect a language that you already have started to learn. OR – you’re an au pair simply for the fun of it, and learning a language is part of the deal.
Whatever the case, learning a foreign language can be challenging. And interesting. And overwhelming some days too. Some learn languages more quickly than others, but even those who learn foreign languages easily still have their days.
So how can you learn to speak your new language like a native? Because let’s face it, even if you are taking a language class (which you should be, it’s one of the benefits of being an au pair) you are still going to have to work hard outside of class if you want to learn to speak the language fluently.
Here are a few things that help speed up the language-learning process:
Meet locals and speak their language – Getting out and meeting people is important – not only socially, because you want new friends – but also to speak the language. And just like with your host parents, even if your new friends and acquaintances speak your language, do your best to converse – at least as much as you can – in the local language. As they say, practice makes perfect, and with languages, it tends to be true (as long as your friends are willing to correct your errors!).
Watch local TV shows and movies – Even if you don’t understand everything that is being said, watching TV and movies in your new language is a fabulous way to learn the language, especially because you will learn the language the way it is actually spoken – not school-book language. You’ll know what is going on and benefit from learning new words and expressions. Give it a try!
Most importantly - Give yourself a set amount of time to learn the basics of the new language and get comfortable with it, and then stop speaking your own language with your host parents so that you are forced to speak the new language. It’s a bit scary at first, but it will make a difference.
The source is Best au pair guide