There is no better feeling than travelling to the country where your learning language is spoken and conversing with the locals.
It gives you an enormous feeling of satisfaction when a local says something to you and you actually understand them and you find yourself being able to be understood when speaking back.
This is the confidence boost and motivation that we all need when learning a new language to carry on and continue to improve.
No matter what your current level of communication in your second language there are always opportunities to use your language skills and you should strive to take every opportunity you can to use them, no matter whether it be as simple as ordering a beer or more advanced like complaining about the poor maintenance of the Air conditioning in the room (this happened to me)
Shying away from these opportunities is the worst thing you can do and will only ever hinder your development.
This year I have travelled to Limoges in France and also Costa Almeria in the South of Spain and the opportunities to speak in both French and Spanish were ample and I did exactly that.
In fact, I refused to speak in English even if the local person I was speaking to clearly wanted to.
I always think to myself that I am not here to speak my language, I’m here to speak yours.
I always find the service you receive from people working in hotels, bars, restaurants, and shops improves dramatically when you make the effort to speak their language.
This was certainly the case in our hotel in Spain where some English people found the service to be lacking and had quite negative things to say about the reception staff at the hotel.
I, on the other hand had a completely different experience and put this down to that fact that I made the effort to speak to the staff in their own language.
I probably get more annoyed with English people not making any effort with the basic please and thank you’d when in other countries than the locals, but I guess that’s because I am a keen advocate of dignity and respect when travelling to foreign countries.
I remember the looks on my children’s faces when I was conversing in Spanish with the local car hire company or mixing with and chatting to the locals during a village fete in the South of France.
My eldest son was that proud he actually grew in confidence during our trip to Spain and even started using some pleasantries with the locals himself which I of course congratulated him for.
I came back from my recent trips full of motivation and commitment to continuing my language learning experience.
There’s no better feeling than knowing that what are you are doing actually works and can be used in practical situations.
You will also get to realise when speaking to locals that most people use a very small limited number of words and you don’t need to know absolutely everything about how a language works to have a conversation with someone.
When I look back at my recent trip’s I used a very limited amount of French and Spanish purely because I didn’t need to look at using more advanced language as the basics were absolutely fine.
This too helps massively with your confidence as you will get to understand that most practical situations can be handled with a very limited amount of language helping your confidence when using it.
So always embrace these opportunities fully and you will be amazed how positive you feel about the hard work and effort you are putting into your studies and this will drive you on and keep you motivated for your future learning.