Student Focus: Getting Over Language Barriers
Canada is one of the most popular study abroad destinations for international students. If you are a student who is seeking to study in Canada, you are bound to go through a completely new cultural experience. Language, local customs and references will play a major role in how easily you settle into a new country and overcome any language barriers that you might face.
Canada has two primary languages – English and French. Depending on where you are living or studying, you will have to become skilled at either or both. Language barriers affect students in more ways than those which meet the eye. It may affect the well-being of students, some resist speaking in classrooms or social situations fearing that they won’t be understood or will have to face judgement.
Overcoming language barriers has a multitude of benefits. It helps you socialise, make friends, improve your academic performance, explore professional opportunities, tap into your full potential, feel comfortable in a new country and culture, and much more.
Here are some valuable tips to overcome your language barriers:
It is an arduous task to learn a new language and you are bound to falter on the way. This is part of the process and you must learn from it instead of being overly critical. The students who are fluent in a local language also face barriers. In each country, province, district, there is a distinct accent, colloquial terms used in that region, words used in a particular context in that area, cultural references etc. Accept that you will face these hurdles, but being persistent and consistent is the key.
Joining a club or interest groups
Social interaction is the best way to get started on learning a language or improving your proficiency. You can choose clubs according to your interests. The idea is that the more you enjoy a group activity and converse with people, your language barriers will automatically start dismantling. Interest groups don’t require you to have perfect language skills and hence the pressure to be perfect is much reduced.
Have Slow Conversations
While it is difficult to ask someone to slow down in conversations in a classroom environment, you can ask your peers to converse at a slower pace with you so that you can keep up. You can share honestly that your native language is different and you don’t want to miss out on what is being spoken in the conversation. There is no harm in admitting if you have any fluency issues with a language. Being upfront helps people be more conscious and considerate in their interactions with you.
Utilize Learning Resources
Use all academic and technological tools at your disposal to overcome language barriers. Use a translation app, dictionaries or thesaurus, combine speech with body language while explaining, use picture association to remember words, learn local phrases and slang etc.
Always write down anything interesting that you hear and try to use it in a conversation later.
Go out of your comfort zone
It is a common tendency of foreign students to seek out peers from their home country who speak their native tongue. This allows them to be in a comfort zone and not worry too much about language barriers. While it’s great to interact with those who speak the same native language as you, however, limiting your interaction to a specific group will slow down your progress in settling into a new culture. Exit your comfort zone, surround yourself with locals, familiarize yourself with the culture and customs and it would be much easier to navigate through any language barriers.
When you plan to study abroad, it helps enormously to have access to accurate and extensive information such as the courses, languages spoken, cultural mix of students, social life, access to activities and much more. Aplicar’s industry-leading platform provides you with authentic and accurate information to help you on your study abroad journey and also in settling into a new country.
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