Erasmus Stories: Learn the Local Language Beforehand
Ever considered to learn the local language online?
Get your linguistic skills to the top!
Are you lucky enough to be doing your Erasmus in a green northern country with lots and lots of mountains that are waiting for you to conquer them, or perhaps a white-scaped cosmopolitan destination such as Sweden, Norway or Finland?
Or is it Big Ben that you are after?
Maybe you just need the endless sun of the south, so you are going to Italy, Spain or Greece?
Perhaps you were always interested in a more central destination which is also ideal for travelling around other countries more easily such as Netherlands, France or Germany?
Whatever your choice, I guess the important thing for you was to get your learning agreement ready and you are now excited to leave for your Erasmus program which is in a few months and you are asking yourself at that point if you should learn the language beforehand… Let me make things easier for you:
Yes, save yourself and learn the language before you land there!
I know that you are probably thinking that English is enough, but have you consider what happens if the locals can only communicate using their native language? Or even worse, what if your English is rusty and you cannot get across your messages?
But why is it so important to have at least a basic level of the local language beforehand?
It all comes down to a very simple answer! Learning, or improving, the local language will make your life easier. Especially the first days of your stay, where stress kicks in, you will find yourself in a very exposed position if you cannot communicate good enough with the people surrounding you. Let me expand this topic further below:
We No speak Americano!
Let’s assume that your English skills are good, if your Erasmus is not in the United Kingdom then you will sooner or later realise that English won’t be as much of a help as you initially thought. If you want to properly interact with the locals, understand what they are saying, understand their sense of humor or simply socialize with new people, then you should try and adapt to their culture and start learning their language. At the end of the day remember, you went there to learn something new!
Be Independent or indépendant or unabhängig… you choose
You probably want to be the boss of yourself. Knowing the local language will make it possible to search for all the information you need by yourself, get in contact with landlords to arrange viewings for your possible accommodation or even book it beforehand so everything will be set for you once you arrive. Also, it will make it easier for you to go watch a movie at the local Cinema, or order your favourite food over the counter. All those actions are equally important for you to master!
Rise through the ranks!
Universities often offer a 3 to 4 weeks language intensive course which starts with an entrance exam that reflects your level and projected skills in the corresponding class. This course is the first point of contact with the rest of the Erasmus students and your chance to meet your first group of friends and trust me, you wouldn’t want to miss that.
Just think what this opportunity is all about, instead of getting admitted to the initial A1 level, by having already a decent level yourself, it will help you to be admitted in a slightly more advanced class. Starting a language from the beginning can result in a tricky situation.
There is no rest for the wicked!
Being in a class that is comprised of 10 – 20 colleagues will only make things more challenging for you. On the other hand, if you already possess a good understanding of the language, advanced classes can only be beneficial for you since you will have a much better degree of linguistic freedom to express your opinion, better understand your curriculum and actively engage in vivid conversations around you. Also, it will make the socialization process after the class much easier for you!
It’s time to get serious aka university courses
If have knowledge equivalent to A1 – A2 levels, the first few weeks are going to be easier than having no previous experience with the language. However, university courses are harder than you think, and even if you are an Erasmus student you will have to participate in the classes like any other regular student.
Those classes will most likely be in the local language which will be difficult for you to understand without at least a B1 – B2 equivalent level… if not more. Sitting in a class for a couple of hours every day, without being able to understand what is happening is more likely to add more stress on you.
Don’t forget that in the course that you will be attending, you still need to take part on the final examinations and successfully pass them in order to earn sufficient ECTs to be eligible for the Erasmus Scholarship.
Clock is ticking
Time is a precious value during your Erasmus as there are lots of exciting things happening almost on a daily basis. Once you have ceased to worry about learning a new language from scratch and you are able to keep up with the lectures and the studies of your course, you will be able to actually have lots of fun and enjoy your time abroad! Having extra free time at your disposal also means that you now have extra time for travelling!
Your first language learning lesson is only a Skype call away!
Now that you know why it is important to learn at least the basics of the local language that your university uses to teach your course, it is important to accommodate any gaps that might exist in your linguistic armory!
Luckily for you, MyLingoTrip offers a customized curriculum that is different for every student and every language. We believe, that by tailoring the curriculum to your needs, we can address the problems that you may have with the language and we can help you reach the competence level of your desire, all you have to do is take the first step and invest in yourself!
Why learn a language online through Skype
We use Skype because it is tested through time and it proved to be a cost-effective, easy-to-use solution for all our students who can easily gain access to their tutors, simply by owning a skype-enabled device and a decent internet connection. With Skype we enable you to study on the go, without the responsibility to be in an actual physical place for the session to take place.
Also, a major advantage of Online Language Schools is that your study schedule can be flexible and accustomed to your very own needs.
If you haven’t considered this amazing possibility yet, simply follow the link below to our latest article about Learning a foreign language via Skype (internal link)
So are you ready for your Erasmus Experience?
Over three million students have participated in Erasmus programme in the last 32 years and each of them has a different story to tell. All of them, however, will agree that Erasmus was a life changing experience and it doesn’t matter where you will go, every place has something to offer you. And by something i mean unforgettable memories and life-changing experiences that will accompany you for the rest of your lifetime!
As a former Erasmus student, I have experienced all those things I described earlier. Some people cannot see the pitfall of going to study abroad without a basic understanding of the local language and as a result, they found themselves in an exposed position where simple tasks like shopping became very difficult, however, the majority of those people tend to achieve a B1 equivalent level towards the end of the program.
On the other hand, the majority of students were sufficiently prepared and demonstrated a good understanding of the language sometimes so high such as a B2 equivalent level, later on, those people achieved a C1 equivalent level without difficulty. The choice is ultimately yours..
In which group do you want to be?
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Ready for your Erasmus? Here some extra tips for you! (internal link to article 4)