Immersion and speaking practise when abroad

So after some time of self-study at home, it’s finally time to go abroad and “practise” the language. How would you go about doing this? Any favourite activities? Approaching people on the street seems to me more difficult than learning thousands of characters… so better perhaps to put myself in some kind of learner-friendly environment. Any ideas?

Try to find out what is the best way to meet people in the place you’re going to live and make friends in order to use the language as much as possible. Where are you going?

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Look on Meetup.com to see if there are any language exchange gatherings you can go to, OR, better yet, if your skills are good enough, you can look for a MeetUp that has nothing do with languages but circles around some other interest, that way you’re more likely to use your target language only.

Watch a lot of TV and consume other media in your spare time – this sounds lame, but it actually helps a lot. I tend to have the TV on in the background all the time when I’m in another country.

If you’re doing touristy things, always opt for the target language guide option whether it’s a tour with a live guide or one of those recoded gizmos they give you.

But most importantly, don’t stop your study routine. I see people get this wrong a lot, expecting to just improve simply because they’re in the country. But the best thing you can do is continue whatever study routine you were doing – deliberate reading and listening etc. – while you’re doing all the other things, because this is a great opportunity to reinforce everything you may come across during your time of living there.

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