Top 5 Tips to Overcome Language Barriers for Expats

by David Tompkins

Top 5 Tips for Expats to Overcome Language Barriers

If you have already decided to leap into a new lifestyle abroad, you may be worried a bit too. Your concerns can range from getting a decent accommodation in your destination to getting a good job and getting accustomed to a completely new culture. One of the major fears of moving abroad is to overcome language barriers.

Language barriers can get on to your nerves because you can’t communicate with people, and no one understands you. The situation can get worse if you are lost because you can’t read the roadside signs and directions. You can get into sticky situations easily if you don’t know the local language of your destination. Avoiding these situations may not be easy, but you can find ways to cope with them. It should also be noted that international citizens will generally be treated better if they at least make an attempt at speaking the local language in your destination country.

Here are five vital tips to help you overcome language barriers and live a rewarding expatriate life:

Overcome Language Barriers

Learn the Local Language and Colloquial

If you have moved to a country which has a different local language, you should find ways to learn it as soon as you can. Getting accustomed to the new social norms and lifestyle is important to ensure that you live a hassle-free expat life. Initially, you need to learn the basics through a language tutor so that you can communicate with your neighbor, grocery shopkeeper, or even your new colleagues at the office. Inadequate vocabulary may hinder your social too, but in due time you will be fully prepared to communicate in the new language at public places too.

Overcome Language Barriers

Start Networking

You can build friendships through regular contact. Ideally, you should get rid of your inhibitions and meet as many people as you can in your neighborhood or at your workplace. You will get to know someone well only when you sit down and talk to that person. You just need to be a little brave to start talking to strangers in a language that is not your mother tongue.

This is also the perfect time to make the best use of various social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to connect with like-minded people. You may bump into fellow expats who would be more than happy to help you through the transition. These relationships will help you in overcoming those tough days when you not comfortable talking in a new language.

Overcome Language Barriers

Be Positive

It is important to be realistic and be mentally prepared to face the harsh realities of expatriate life. There are many stories of expats going through the grind and ultimately getting frustrated because they couldn’t cope up with a new environment. Despite all the hurdles, being positive and optimistic help. You may feel isolated and lonely because of the language barriers of your chosen destination. To fit into a new place, you need to be mentally strong and positive.

To get out of culture shock and regain your confidence, give yourself adequate time, and don’t push yourself too much. If you try hard enough, even the locals in your neighborhood will find your lingo attempts very charming. Make local friends, watch local TV channels, and try to practice the new language with full gusto. You will be surprised to see that you attain fluency in the new language in just a matter of months.

Overcome Language Barriers

Learn from Local People

You may have learned the basics like saying “please,” “thank you,” or “excuse me,” in a foreign language before boarding your flight to your expat destination. However, you can expand your vocabulary by making local friends who can help you learn the new lingo well. There are various online resources and language apps to assist you in understanding a language. However, learning from locals can be the best bet if you want to master a language in a quick time. Getting trained through a native speaker would mean that you are leaning a language in its purest form with the little nuances and accent.

Be Passionate about Your Hobbies

Getting passionately involved with a hobby would mean that you will get ample opportunities to meet like-minded people outside your office. Hobbies like yoga, boating, hiking, and cooking classes will allow you adequate time and chances to meet new faces and overcome language barriers.

Final Tip to Overcome Language Barriers

Lastly,  practice, practice, and practice. By speaking the language on a daily basis, you simply become better. Allocate an hour a day to learn the language if you have a busy schedule. There are also numerous language apps that can help you learn the language a little faster and in a fun way. Keep breaking the barriers and soon you will master the language. The world is getting smaller in our global village – go abroad and go expat today.

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