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8 Proven Ways To Deal With Language Barriers When Studying Abroad

8 Proven Ways To Deal With Language Barriers When Studying Abroad

What one thing makes the word ‘studying’ – exciting, enjoyable, and something to look forward to? One of the most inspiring factors that can put a person’s heart into education is certainly a chance to study abroad. And why not? Several students, successful professionals, and prominent people have sought their education abroad, ranging from musicians such as Brian Molko, author Harper Lee to politicians such as Bill Clinton.

Studying abroad comes with its own excitement and difficulties. And overcoming language barriers during study abroad can be considered one of the most difficult aspects. If someone wants to go to a place where the language frequently used is not their native language, they will definitely face language barriers when studying abroad. The struggle to communicate in a new setting, especially in a non-English-speaking country, starts right at the airport from hearing announcements in the local language, leaving them confused and dumbstruck or making them feel like missing some important information. It sounds less like an adventure to study abroad and more like a daunting experience now, doesn’t it?

While a foreign language can not be completely perfect, studying abroad requires a basic understanding of the language preferences of the destination country. Although the course can require students to stay for more than a year in the host country, local nuances, vocabulary, spoken language, and slang still cause communication walls to go straight up!

Multiple regular activities, such as going to classes, grocery shopping, purchasing supplies for books/courses, travelling by public transit, having the plumbing for the house, or meeting new people, and socializing.

For a new student in a foreign country, anything listed above can be full of hurdles. Daily life can come to a halt if the students are not able to communicate in the preferred language of the locals. There is a risk of being disappointed and disappointed and disgruntled, which could affect studies as well! Therefore, one of the important things that a student should remember before going away to education is to be prepared for communication.

Do not get daunted, however, by this constraint. Do not, in truth, regard language as a barrier at all! As opposed to managing studies abroad, overcoming language barrier studying abroad is really not that humongous of a job. In reality, one can easily overcome this challenge if one tries to implement the solutions given below! These are the secrets to overcome language barrier in a foreign country.

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Tips To Overcome Language Barriers While Studying Abroad

Following are the ways to overcome the language barrier fears.

1. Let go

When studying abroad, the first step towards overcoming language barriers when studying abroad is to let go of the preconceived notions concerning the languages, customs, values, and culture of the region. While it is important to get as much knowledge about the culture of the country as one can, one must not shape an opinion or idea based on the experiences of other people. When possible, be careful, but do not forget to stay accessible to the country you are moving to. Be inclusive, show interest, and do not hold back from adopting the culture of a new country.

2. Don’t be shy or embarrassed

You will feel like you have the language skills of a local five-year-old, but without trying, your speaking will not improve. We always fall into the pit of making my friends talk about me more fluently; don’t let it happen to you. Speak up and your skin is heavy and you’re not always going to be heard, and that’s all right. Your trust will skyrocket after those first good experiences and you will be confidently speaking in no time.

3. Make good friends   

This one out of all the ways to overcome the language barrier fears is actually an expansion of the above-suggested suggestion. Socializing and making local friends who can happily help with the language barriers when studying abroad can be a good step to solve the language problem. In addition, they are most likely to give you the best pointers on how to communicate effectively in their country. When studying abroad, this is the best way to improve regular conversational skills.

4. Invest in a dictionary

Although online translation platforms are available most of the time, most of these services are unreliable for longer texts and complete sentences. Instead, an embarrassment-free way of getting acquainted with local phrases and language nuances is investing in a language dictionary.

5. TV Shows and Movies

This is by far the safest way for the proceedings to kickstart. You’ll certainly get a good grip on the language by watching as many movies or television shows as possible. Movies are narratives that are packed with debates. So, learning a new language that way is easy.

Since they are very formal, I don’t recommend you watch news channels. When you talk to your mates, your language would be strange.

6. Practise makes a man perfect

This is one of the most crucial secrets to overcome language barrier. Just keep talking to overcome language barriers when studying abroad. Learn new words out of them and form sentences. Just record what you’re talking about and listen to it. This will help you speak the language more easily.

You’ll be off to a flying start if you download any language learning software. If you just want to talk, no need to compose and practise.

7. Master the basics

As a first step, one should certainly learn basics like numbers, phrases such as yes, no, please, okay, thank you, and sorry. Prepare for simple conversations beforehand. When studying abroad, learning basic terms one by one will allow students to have the most relaxed conversation. This is one of the easiest ways to overcome the language barrier fears.

8. Programs for language exchange, meet-ups, and classes

Nowadays, in addition to conventional language classes, the idea of language exchanges and meet-ups is gaining popularity. These meetings typically allow foreign and local students to swap their languages for some time. This is a perfect way for international students to engage with local students. 

Now you know the secrets to overcome language barriers!

When studying abroad

While many learners would naturally develop through immersion in a language, there are many bad habits that can hinder their enhancement, such as being complacent in their language learning or getting used to not understanding stuff. There are some easy things you can do in order to make use of any opportunity to improve and enhance your language skills while you are abroad.

The first is to look up helpful words and phrases to eliminate possible language gaps before approaching such situations. For starters, it might be a good idea to look up how to say stuff like, “Please cut it short,” or, “I would like a shampoo and cut,” before going to get a haircut. Students can also look up words and phrases for situations they frequently find themselves in. For example, it is important to be able to understand phrases used by shopkeepers to survive your experience of studying abroad. It can help to ask the native speaker to describe it more slowly or use different, simpler terms during moments of struggle when you don’t understand a word or phrase, instead of only asking for it in English.

Students should make a note of the term or phrase on their mobile after this conversation to refer to later. Instead of learning the word and forgetting it instantly, this means stronger retention. There’s nothing wrong with using body language or fragmented phrases or severe grammatical errors when anything else fails; most locals will accept the fact that you’re trying to communicate in their language. Although some students may have the initial reaction of attempting to communicate in English, assuming they can understand the people around them, those who fail to speak in a foreign language are typically the ones who develop the most.

After study abroad

Going home can be a mixture of emotions, some feel happy that they are finally in a place where everything is familiar again, while others are sad to leave at a time when they only got more qualified in the local language. The positive thing about our heavily globalised world is that once your course is done, language barriers when studying abroad don’t have to end. While there is no alternative for immersion, the second best thing is to use the language with native speakers regularly. It is important to set up a way to stay in touch with people you met abroad to continue improving.

Honestly, the fact to choose to study in a foreign country is in itself a commendable and courageous thing to do. Remember, after graduation, the native language of the country is of not much importance, but nothing makes natives happier than a foreign student doing her/his best to adapt. So even though someone speaks in incomplete sentences, makes grammatical errors, or uses body language and gestures, it will definitely be understood that they are trying!

So, keep trying and do not think of language as a barrier while studying abroad.


1.What are some language barriers that studying abroad creates?

When students move abroad to study, there are multiple words they might come across for the same item or most locals use a lingo that you might not understand. You may occasionally feel alienated because of this, but look at it as an opportunity to grow. But the best experience is that the majority of locals appreciate your efforts to converse with them in their language.

2.How to overcome language barriers when studying abroad?

Downloading some language study apps is the easiest way for students to avoid language barriers. This is one of the most important language barrier-breaking tips and to overcome language barriers while studying abroad, simply keep conversing with the language you want to learn is the best way. Hence, there is no need to write or practise if all you want to do is speak.

3.What problems can language barriers cause when travelling abroad?

Language barriers can cause significant miscommunication because they frequently impede the development of relationships with others. They can produce misconceptions, which can lead to conflict, irritation, offence, violence, damaged feelings, and the waste of people’s time, effort, money, and lives. When you lose your ability to communicate verbally, even simple actions like ordering a meal or purchasing a bottle of water become challenging.

4.How do language barriers affect students?

Mental distress is one of the main language barriers that can occur among students; it can also impair their capacity to learn. Students may experience uncomfortable emotional states that restrict them from fully utilising the learning opportunities in front of them, such as fear of failing, past insecurities, or fear of change.

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8 Proven Ways To Deal With Language Barriers When Studying Abroad

8 Proven Ways To Deal With Language Barriers When Studying Abroad

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