We recently spoke to Alex Redfern, Founder of the language tutoring platform, Lingoci, about how students can learn languages in preparation for traveling abroad.
Hi Alex, we’re curious – let’s say a student wants to learn Spanish for a trip to Latin America – how do you recommend that they go about learning?
If the student is a complete beginner, I’d recommend using a free app in order to build some basic vocabulary and grammar knowledge.
Once you understand the very basics, learn vocabulary that is specific to travel. For example, Forvo has recently launched an app that gives you lots of useful phrases that can come in handy on a trip abroad. Listen to the phrases and repeat them in order to not only memorise the vocab but also improve your pronunciation. This will help you avoid being misunderstood on your trip. You’ll be less likely to accidentally say ‘tengo hombre’ (I have a man) when you mean to say ‘tengo hambre’ (I’m hungry).
Half the battle when you’re travelling is being able to understand people. So, to improve your listening skills I’d also find a podcast that’s designed for people who are learning Spanish. There are lots of these available and 5-10 minutes of listening each day will work wonders.
To improve your ability to speak the language, you should start practicing with people as soon as possible. If you don’t have funds for lessons, you can often find language exchange meetups in your city. If you’re serious about learning and you have some budget for learning, I’d also recommend taking some lessons with a native Spanish tutor. Many students on Lingoci ask their tutor to tailor the lessons to prepare for travelling. So for example, they might practice a roleplay involving ordering food in a restaurant. Students can then revise the lesson notes and often use Forvo to help them when they’re unsure of the correct pronunciation.
Thanks to Alex for taking the time to speak to us. We hope you found it useful!