Language courses abroad are a great opportunity to start travelling alone but also to improve your language skills. As a teenager or a young adult, travelling alone can be seen as frightening: it is the first time of your life that will have to manage everything by yourself (find you way, living alone, manage the « what will I eat » challenge and of course organize your days as long as you say abroad). Here some tips to prepare at best your first trip !
1. Check all administrative formalities: be sure that all formalities like visas, passeports and plane/ train tickets are ready and in order, but also all papers concerning your laguage school and your accomodation. Remember also to check your school and your accomodation’s location.
2. Learn the very basic vocabulary: before starting your travel, be sure to know basic words such as « platform », « connection », « boarding pass » or « delayed » to be able to find your way easily at your arrival. The best way to learn this vocabulary would be to use a phrase book: it’s a very unexpensive way to learn the everyday vocabulary, but also to make richer and more precise your speaking.
3. Don’t forget to write: bring two notebooks to help you to take notes of your lessons: a small one will contain all the vocabulary that you will learn (with the explainations in the language that you are learning) and a medium sized one, dedicated to your lessons (grammar rules and exercises).
4. About dictionnaries: a big dictionnary will only add weight in your luggage and will be completely useless: you are not learning a list of words but learning a vocabulary in situation. However, a pocket sized dictionnary with an elementary vocabulary could be helpful for your writting exercises.
5. Check basic grammar rules: do not be too stressed about grammar. Speaking with a wrong grammar does not involve that you will not be understood by others. But checking basic grammar rules can really help you to be sure to understand your first conversation (and to be able to answer properly), but also to feel more confident in your speaking. Check rules such as past, present and future tenses but also comparision rules and sentence constructions.
6. Listen ! : at your arrival, you will obviously be lost or suprised by the way natives are speaking. A great way to palliate this difficulty is to listen as much as you can the language that you are learning. Radio, podcastsor TV programs, Internet is full of ressources to improve your listening skills and you oral comprehension.
7. Reading: look for some books titres and newspapers that you can buy during your staying. To ease your reading, choose topics that you like or enjoy to read instead of forcing yourself to read boring texts.