Language Travel with FluentU: Travel the World While You Learn
It’s decided: you’re going abroad!
You’re going to spend time in another country, learn a new language or improve your current skills and hopefully befriend a lot of new people from all around the globe.
You’ve decided that language travel is what you really want, and I’m sure you’ll never regret it!
Now that you’re traveling to a foreign country, every little bit of authentic language learning will help.
- What’s language travel?
- Advantages of online learning
- How to Travel the World with FluentU
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What’s language travel?
Simply put, language travel means immersing yourself in a language while you travel.
The most efficient way to do this is by traveling to the country where the language you want to learn is spoken natively and spending some time there. You can add some language courses and apps to the mix. With language travel, you’ll see a massive improvement in your language skills in the shortest amount of time.
Why? For starters, you’ll be living in a country where your native language isn’t widely spoken. Your survival mode will activate the moment you land. If you want to carry out simple actions like finding something to eat, buying water, using public transportation or having a hot bath instead of a cold shower, you’ll have to force yourself to speak the local language.
You’ll be surrounded by the language you want to learn 24/7. If you turn on the TV, everybody will be speaking that language. If you’re on the bus, you’ll eavesdrop on conversations in that language.
There’s no escape. You’re going to learn the language!
When I was 25, I decided to finish my Ph.D. in Poland. I knew zero words of Polish when I made that decision and only one word a week later when I landed in Poland. I was in a foreign country with no friends and no knowledge of the language. I could either go big or go back home.
I decided I wouldn’t be just another Spaniard who would try to survive by speaking in Spanish or English, finish his Ph.D. and go back to Spain. I had six months ahead of me, and I wanted to make the most out of them. So I started learning Polish. This is how my passion for language travel was born.
While some people assume enrolling in local courses is the best way to study during language travel, online learning with programs is an alternative with a ton of benefits.
Advantages of online learning
There are several advantages to learning online and using apps.
Here are some of the main ones:
By studying on your computer or phone, you’re the only one who decides what you want to learn and when.
This freedom makes learning a new language more enjoyable, because you don’t feel the pressure of a set class schedule.
Ease and accessibility
You can learn everywhere. Literally! On the couch, on the train, at a restaurant. Europe, Asia, South America.
Online learning is accessible from almost every place in the world. And with some apps, you can even download certain files for offline use. The sky’s the limit!
It’s a cheap deal
Online learning is much cheaper than traditional classroom learning. You don’t have to pay for classes or textbooks.
There are even completely free online resources available!
How to Travel the World with FluentU
How can you get the most out of your language travel with this online language learning program?
Here you have six ways to get started.
1. Mobile apps
Yes, you can learn on your web browser. But downloading the app onto your phone is a million times more convenient for travelers.
Whether you have an iPhone, and iPad, an Android or all of them, you can have it on every device.
When you’re on the go, you want to make learning the language as easy as possible. It’s challenging enough to be living in a foreign country where you aren’t fluent in the language yet. Carrying heavy textbooks or having to find a computer to access your language program aren’t exactly ideal.
With FluentU, you can watch videos any place there’s Wi-Fi—restaurants in Paris, cafes in Tokyo or even McDonald’s in Peru.
You can also download certain files for offline use, so you can keep studying from, say, a sailboat off the coast of Spain.
2. Audio and video with subtitles
You’ll have unlimited access to a diverse collection of media clips with foreign language and English subtitles. You’ll also see that there are audio courses available, complete with transcripts.
Imagine you’re going to a restaurant and want to brush up on your Spanish food vocabulary. You can watch a couple of videos while on the bus and arrive at the restaurant with your head full of delicious food words!
Since the videos are subtitled and there are translations for every single word and expression, you can easily learn new phrases in context.
Thanks to the numerous available videos, you’ll also have access to many different accents and dialects for one language. The program includes videos of native speakers from different parts of the world. Convenient for travelers.
3. Flashcards, flashcards and more flashcards
Videos are great, but sometimes all we want are some interactive flashcards that can help us quickly review a few words.
This is especially true while language traveling. Depending on your plans for the day, you may need a certain set of words to help you.
On FluentU, there are lots of pre-made flashcard sets categorized by topics such as school, food, advanced adjectives and homophones. You can pull up these flashcard sets to freshen up your vocabulary or learn a few new words. Choose the topic and adapt it to your plans so you can rest assured you’ll be learning stuff you’re going to use that day!
Another way to take advantage of the flashcard system is by creating your own flashcards.
If you’re spending the weekend visiting museums in France, you can make your own list of French museum and art vocabulary and transform it into flashcards.
4. Word lookup
The word lookup feature is one of my favorites.
You’re watching a video or listening to an audio clip and there’s a word you don’t recognize, you can just tap the word to access learning annotations.
Thanks to this feature, you can see what any word means, how it’s pronounced (by a native speaker), what part of speech it belongs to and how it behaves in a complete sentence. The sample sentences have been written by native speakers, are translated into English and can also be listened to as many times as you want.
With this option, you’ve got some guidance to survive real-life situations in your travels.
5. Personalized Quizzes
Boy, do I love quizzes.
FluentU quizzes are personalized to help you reach your specific goals.
When you’re language traveling, you’ll need different vocabulary for different situations.
After you watch a video, the program quizzes you over the vocab in that clip.
If you have trouble remembering a word, it will continue to quiz you over that vocab. It even gives you the option to add that word to a flashcard set specifically for terms you need help with.
It will also quiz you over your personalized flashcard sets.
Quizzes are a combination of fill-in-the-blank, multiple choice, speaking questions and more.
6. Spaced repetition
It’s great to be able to prepare for specific situations. But it’s even better to be ready for any situation.
When you travel, being prepared for whatever language situation fate throws your way isn’t a luxury everyone has.
FluentU uses spaced repetition to help you get the most out of the time you spend studying a foreign language.
Several studies have shown that spaced repetition is the best way to keep information in your brain long-term because it allows you to review what you’ve learned after the amount of time needed.
Now that you know how FluentU can help you during your language escapade abroad, the next move is yours. A free trial is available so you can immerse yourself in local content, then have the ability to interact with natives later on.
Language travel is a life-changing way to learn a new language in a short period of time. Do it and you won’t regret it!
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