Does studying abroad help you learn a language?

I remember when I first came to the U.S., I could only say “I Like Sushi.”

Sounds like a joke but it was real and I could not speak at all.

I had been trying to get used to English to some extent in Japan.

And I had been listening to “Speed Learning”(the listening textbook), watching American TV shows such as “Friends” and “The O.C.” to improve my listening skills.

So I thought I would be fine.

Because I thought I had been studying hard, but when I was speaking English in the U.S. in the beginnings, I was completely lost.

I had a hard time two or more years until I could understand.

There are many people who actually cannot speak English even if they live in an English environment.

I think there are many people who study abroad but end up not being able to speak English, or wonder if there is any point in doing so.

So this time, I would like to ask you if it is better to go abroad to study a language? What is the point? I would like to introduce some merits.

This article is written for:

  • Those who want to learn English.
  • Those who are thinking of studying in the U.S. or any other countries in the future.
  • You are studying English, but you do not speak it well.

I would like to write an article for those who want to learn English.

First of all, there are many advantages to studying abroad.

  • To learn about the local culture of a foreign country.
  • To experience how native speakers speak English.

These are the two main reasons. If you can go, I definitely recommend you to go.

Language is a tool for communication, so whether or not you want to understand the other person is very important.

I didn’t really know about American culture, and Latin culture but I just liked to travel and I always enjoyed interacting with the locals when I went abroad.

The biggest advantage of studying or traveling abroad to learn a language is to become more interested in the local people.

Secondly, you can experience firsthand the local way of speaking and the culture itself.

This is something you can talk about if there are people from other countries in your country of residence.

But the English they use is sometimes adapted to the level of the country and the person speaking it.

For example, you may know someone from the UK whom you met in a bar in Japan and he become a friend, and you think you can speak English well.

That is good!

And a good mind!

But when I watch an American movie or UK movies, I wasn’t able to understand at some points because I do not know that their culture exactly, and also I had hard time to hear with a conversation with whom both are native English speakers.

There is also using so many slangs and the way of speaking that is popular nowadays, and that so you can learn about it by interacting with local people. I mean that is only way to learn how to speck a native language speaker.


there is one big misunderstanding of studying abroad.

Just starting to live in foreign countries does not mean that you are interacting with the local people.

This is why people who have lived abroad for many years still do not speak English well.

For everyday living (especially in areas with many immigrants such as Los Angeles and New York), honestly, people do not need to speak English to have a good time because of the markets and communities in each country or cities.

However, when you enter a conversation between native English speakers, you may find that you cannot understand or communicate well with them at all.

The biggest reason for this is often that you don’t know their culture or what they are talking about.

When you go to see a movie at the theater or stand-up comedy, you may find that people around you are laughing at different points because you don’t understand the local jokes. (I did it so many times)

That so, I don’t think that studying abroad is ever meaningless.

However, just studying abroad does not mean that you will be able to speak and understand languages.

For those who come to study abroad for the purpose of learning English, the following are some tips to make your study abroad experience a meaningful one.

Create an environment where you do not speak your native language, even if you have to force yourself to do so.

This is the only way.

If you are Japanese, a small or a big, there are Japanese communities in most of the countries have for studying abroad, but just don’t speak Japanese, leave them, or get involved.

You may feel lonely because you can’t make friends.
But, study first.

You came to study, so need to focus on that.

And also we should be strong at foreign countries.

You will get back what you put into your language and skills.

If you really feel lonely, I have an idea to make friends.

Download the app “MeetUp” (the app itself is free if you don’t create your own group) and join language exchange meetings.

By the way, I once used the app to create a group to go out to eat Japanese food and have cultural and language exchanges.

I had a chance to talk with many people who live in the local area.

I think it is fun to create your own group and do some kind of exchange events.

The secret to improving your English is;

To have the courage to refuse invitations to gatherings in your native language speakers.

First of all, you need to get out of your comfort zone to make your study abroad experience meaningful.

It is all up to you.

But, for me like I had a period of about 2 years when I felt comfortable in the Japanese community.

Because I could speak only Japanese and so my English did not improve at all.

However, when the environment changes, our brain changes.

Another secret to improve my English is;

Interaction with local people and making friends.

If you go out with local friends or fall in love with local people, you will improve your language skills at first.

To be honest, I learned most of my English from my friends who I met in the U.S.

By imitating the way they speak, you will be able to communicate better with the people who live in the area.

It can help you understand the flow of the conversation.

Without having friends, it would be very difficult to improve any languages.

Even if you don’t have friends or loved ones, there is some solutions to improve your English.

It is reading books.

Read a book in English with you voice.

This will improve your vocabulary, pronunciation practice, grammar.

You will learn how to speak and become fluent in the language on your own, and listening comprehension.

In fact, I’ve been working on reading books for about 3 years. I think it’s the best way to improve.

If I were to study English on my own, this method would have improved my English the most.

Continuation is an ally.

If reading books is not your strong point, you can imitate the actors’ lines out loud while watching a movie.

First, input the information into your own brain by saying it out loud.

There is a huge difference between actually using English with your own mouth, practicing and just memorizing it in your head again and again.

Using your voice to put the words into your brain and consistency is the key.

In summary:

  • Studying abroad is very meaningful.
  • Not only do you get to learn English, but you also get to experience things that you cannot experience only in your own country and hear the real local language. I think this makes a huge difference. In today’s society, you can study a language online without going abroad to study, but the only way to learn about the culture itself is to enter that environment.
  • Even if you go abroad to study a language, if you cannot enter the local environment, it will be difficult to learn the “real” culture and “real” English in the U.S.
  • If you are serious about learning English, do not join a community that uses your native language.
  • You will make rapid progress by making friends, girlfriends, boyfriends, etc. in an English-only environment, even if you have to work hard yourself to get there.
  • It may be difficult to make friends in the beginning, so use social networking apps such as “MeetUp” and attend events that match your interests (there are many free events).
  • Another must-do is to read movies or read books with your actual voice. So if you always read it and let the sounds sink into your brain, you may subconsciously remember the phrases.

That is all.

If you want to study abroad to learn English, Why don’t you go and try various challenges?

I am sure that you will learn more in your life in many ways than you would have learned in your own country.

I hope this article will be of some help to you.

Thank you for reading.


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