We love having guest bloggers here at Livemocha. They always have fresh ideas, and different tips to help our community of language learners. Today, Gina Mussio shares three different ways to see the wotld a little differently while traveling.
by Gina Mussio
You know the grammar, you jump at the chance to test out your spoken language skills and you work to infuse your target language into all aspects of your life. However, like in any important relationship, it’s necessary to keep things spicy to not lose interest and motivation. When you travel to the country, think outside the box when searching for ways to use the language. Maintain your language curiosity and transform your language knowledge into language fluency with these three unconventional ways to study while abroad.
Connect with new friends in your target language or seek them out. Reading through statuses, blog posts or comments in your target language is a great way to practice your reading comprehension and learn colloquial speech. Though it’s written, by connecting with native speakers on social media you’ll also improve your “spoken” language as most interact online with more informal speech. Also, posting statuses or comments is real life practice of writing quickly in that language, not just in-class essays or well-thought letters.
If you are lucky enough to be traveling in your target language country, don’t just practice your travel vocabulary, but take in the less touristy sights as well by checking out the graffiti. You’re likely to find graffiti present in nearly every city. Some are more beautiful murals expressing public thoughts or protests, others are hastily sprayed expressions of love or cuss-words. While walking the city eavesdropping on passersby, study the walls as well. Try to understand the notes spray-painted on buildings and decipher encrypted meanings from the graffiti. The simpler messages will grow your knowledge of the basic language or slang, and the more complex messages might grow your knowledge of the culture and the current political or economic situation.
Sign up for a class of a favorite hobby in your target language. If you regularly take yoga classes back home, sign up for a yoga class while traveling and learn how to say things like downward dog and “align your spine as if there was a string being lightly pulled from the top of your head” in your target language. You can do a cooking class, a one day running club or go to a book signing if there happens to be one in the area. Sure it will be challenging, but fun and useful also!
Gina Mussio is an language-learner, English teacher and freelance writer living in Monza, Italy where she’s perfecting the art of cappuccino making and on the search for the perfect pizza. You can follow her English travel blog at Falling Allover the World or on Twitter @ginamussio.
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