My language learning journey and methods I have developed to learn a language for travel
At the beginning of my language learning journey, I want to reveal that I used to hate languages… yes, that is true. I was 7 years old when my parents signed me up for English classes, and I used to cry every time I had to attend that class. I just hated it (I don’t remember the reason anymore), my parents witnessed it, so if you don’t believe me, they can confess it.
But the story I want to tell you is about how much a new language changes the way you think, live, and eventually, the way you travel. I had come to the point when I started believing in the power of languages. So why am I telling you that I used to hate languages? Well, because I discovered the beauty of speaking a foreign language later on in my life. I’ve happened to love languages, and I know that it changes everybody’s life once you speak a foreign language. Especially when you travel. And I believe it can change your life, too.
Language learning journey is a truly rewarding and fun process
So not only is this story about my language learning journey and how it changed my travel experience. But it is also the way I want to encourage you to learn a language and show you that it can be a very enjoyable and fun process. Remember, I used to hate languages, and here I am convincing you to learn a language. Maybe you are at the same stage of being lost, discouraged, or not really in love with languages. It’s time to change it, and my story, together with my language blog, will help you with it. So keep reading.
Being an independent language learner
Don’t ask me when I started to learn and love languages. I really don’t remember when was it that I understood the power of languages. But I can tell you for sure that it all started in my high school. I might have been 14 years old when I took an English book and started studying the language independently. And the main reason for that was that I understood the importance of a language when it comes to travel. At the age of 14, I felt like I wanted to travel, explore the world and various cultures. And I knew I had to know a language to do that. So one day, I took an English language book, sat down, and started learning English properly on my own. And that was the breakthrough.
You know, I found my motivation, the reason, and the purpose of why I wanted to learn the language. It was travel. And that was the beginning of my language learning journey.
Finding motivation and purpose to learn a language
You have to find the motivation inside you, the purpose, and the reason for why you are learning a language. I used to hate learning English because I didn’t see the purpose of it. But once I realized the value it brings me, I started enjoying the learning process. So the first step for you is to find the motivation inside you. It’s the foundation of your language learning journey. It will motivate and guide you through the entire journey and help you to overcome the hard times.
As I described in my life story, I grew up in a small town, where everybody goes through the pretty much same life routine (going to school, getting older, finding a job, getting married, and having kids at a very young age). Again, don’t get me wrong, there is nothing bad about such a life, but I just didn’t feel like I wanted to have such a routine. I felt that life was about much more than just this routine.
I wanted to get out and see other parts of the world, understand how people live there, and see the world through different eyes. And I understood that I needed to equip myself with language skills, as many languages as possible. And that was a great milestone in my life. After school and all activities, I sat down and started learning languages. First of all, it was English.
Getting on an adventure with an exchange semester and improving my English
At the age of 17, I found an exchange program in New Zealand and decided to participate. My mum got shocked and didn’t want to let me go. Only thanks to my dad, who convinced her, I was able to fly to New Zealand alone in 2013, facing yet the biggest adventure of my life. I was super excited but, at the same time, quite scared. I was afraid of speaking English to locals as I didn’t believe it my language skills. At that time, I was super shy as well. I spent half a year in New Zealand, studying in a local high school and living with a Kiwi family (which I now called as my second family).
Those 6 months not only changed me as a person but opened my eyes to the entire world. It also helped me understand how other people think and live (on the other side of the planet). I improved my English, and even though it was not easy, I eventually overcame the fear and started speaking without problems. I came back home to my home town as a completely new person, without the fears I used to have, much more motivated and with the feeling of having found the purpose of my life – learning languages and travel.
Understanding the power of languages on my language learning journey
Since that time, I have never stopped learning new languages as I understood the power of them, especially when it comes to travel. When you speak a foreign language, you really become a new person and get a completely new perspective on life. I understood that in order to live my life, experience the way people think and their cultures, I needed (and wanted) to learn new languages.
Starting with learning German and a little bit of French
In my high school graduation year, I decided to learn German, mainly because I wanted to study at a University abroad. Eventually, I chose the University of Applied Sciences in Salzburg, Austria. Even though the University program was in English, I wanted to communicate with locals in German. So the year before I moved to Salzburg, I was studying German on my own during weekends. I also started to pick up some French (just because I started learning it in New Zealand and fell in love with the language).
Picking up Spanish during my University studies
Throughout my University in Austria, I worked as a waitress and talked to friends around, which helped me improve my German. I already had the base of the language as I started learning it on my own before going to Austria. After I was practicing in real-time in Salzburg. But then I got another amazing opportunity to learn an additional language at the University. And guess what I chose. I decided to pick up Spanish. And I absolutely fell in love with this language. I fell in love that much that I decided to do a semester abroad at a University in Barcelona, Spain. I chose it mainly because I created such a language learning method for me. Firstly, learning the language on my own (or at school), then talking to myself and practicing, and eventually, going to that country and practice speaking in real-time.
My language learning method based on my experience
I just came up with this method while I was learning on my own. And I have proven it really works. So let’s summarize what I have figured out throughout my language learning journey:
- You have to find the purpose and motivation to learn the language (may it be travel, work, or simply because you enjoy it)
- Pick up a specific topic to learn vocabulary for travel
- Define specific & smaller goals
- Start learning the vocabulary on your own (so that you can understand others once travelling, even though you cannot speak properly yet)
- Try to create sentences using that vocabulary – practice while talking to yourself
- Improve your language skills using my effective tips & tricks
- Practice speaking online & then travel to that country to practice with locals
Learning a language this way will eventually enable you to explore the country more in-depth and have a more enjoyable travel experience. Check out also my travel section with travel itineraries to get inspiration for places to see.
I have created a separate article, where I walk you through the process of how to learn a language for travel in 7 basic steps. Check it out, get inspired, and start learning a language of your choice following my advice. It is going to be a lot of fun.
Invitation for you to learn a new language for travel with me
These are the basic steps for learning a language, and I would like to walk you through this entire process on my website. In my ‘learn a language for travel’ section, you will find the exact specific topics and vocabulary to learn and get a step closer to speaking the language. In the ‘materials’ section, you will have anything that will help you build your knowledge, practice the vocabulary and have fun while learning the language. I have created all these materials on my own for you, so check them out and pick some up to boost your learning process. And in my language blog, you will find inspirational articles about the language learning process, language learning methods, and encouragement for your language learning journey.
I have come up with these methods based on my learning experiences. It is a truly rewarding and exciting journey. And so I encourage you to find the motivation to learn a language. If it is travel for you, that’s great. You are already a step closer to start learning a new language in a fun and interesting way.
Are you ready to get on the exciting language learning journey with me?