When you go abroad for work or study you will need to know the national language of the country you visit at least on the basic level. Sometimes English is not sufficient and you will need to use Hungarian while paying at a Hungarian grocery or German while buying a German pretzel.

Recently I was surprised by the data I had found on the Internet. I had thought France is the country I would not be able to survive with English only. Is it a stereotype to think so bad about French?? Hmm… Who knows?

The country I would not survive if I knew only English is… Hungary. Another proof for Hungarian scepticism to everything “from outside”. Times have changed. Globalisation, international companies, student exchanges, wonderful travel opportunities. A wake-up call for Hungarians!

How about other languages?

The median number of languages spoken in Hungary is also 1, tiny one, like in Italy, UK, Ireland and Portugal.

If I decided to travel using only English I would certainly go to former Benelux and Scandinavian countries – colder than in Spain but… Well, I’d go for Spain, anyway.

Even though English language has grown in it significance, that is highly appreciated to master as many languages as it is possible especially with growing demand for professionals having mastered Scandinavian languages.

So how to learn languages… shortly speaking…

I know 6 languages on different levels and I am sticking to these rules to learn faster:

 #1 Use flashcards

A good method to master the vocabulary. On one side of the card  write down some examples where you incorporate a new word, on the other the word itself. Make a box for your flashcards and set time on which days you should repeat the words again. You can make sections in a box, put the flashcards from different days in separate sections. Move the sets of cards every 2 days (although you can set your time) – this will help track the time for revision.

#2 Be systematic

Learn a language if the topic is hard. Ask a tutor for clarification, search the answers in the web – be active and engaged in the learning process. And… repeat, repeat, repeat!

#3 Talk with native speakers

It has become a trend to meet for so-called “tandems” for a beer or coffee with a native speaker(s). You give a Frenchman your Spanish, he will share with you his French in a nice relaxing atmosphere with a soft music in the background.

#4 Never be afraid to talk

If you are not sure about your mistakes, be brave and practice. Nobody is going to laugh and criticize you if they are intelligent people. If they do criticize – they are just primitives who want to make their own humor better, humiliating another person. Send them to x. Anyway…

#5 Watch original films

in the language you are learning (I prefer to turn off the subtitles, they distract me; although you may consider subtitles).

#6 Find a pen friend

 with social networks that is not going to be a problem. You will practice writing (that is the part people usually have problems with).

#7 Use dreams as an indicator

if your dreams are in the language you are currently learning then it is a good sign.

Good luck with a wonderful adventure. And remember every learned language will make you a greater Person.

Yours, Lavie


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