Studying abroad is a special experience, but also a challenge. Especially in linguistic terms. Good knowledge of foreign languages is essential for attending university and is usually mandatory. A good linguistic preparation for studying abroad should therefore not be ignored.
It is highly recommended to attend a language training course before departure. In this way you can acquire basic foreign language skills or refresh your existing knowledge. This way you are well prepared from the very beginning and you can concentrate on your studies and campus life.
There are various methods of acquiring the required language skills. Some of the language preparation options for studying abroad are described below.
Learning a language with the help of a textbook is completely traditional and familiar from school. The contents of the textbook consist of introductory and exercise texts, a grammar section and a vocabulary section. The texts are loosened up and illustrated by pictures and graphics.
The selection of language textbooks is very large. The books are aimed at children or adults and cover different levels. The books are more manageable cost factors and can theoretically be taken everywhere.
However, learning is structured in a similar way and can quickly become one-sided. In addition, learning requires a high degree of self-discipline. It is not uncommon for textbooks to become dusty on the shelf relatively quickly.
Many books have accompanying CDs in which the texts and exercises are read aloud. Without such a CD the auditory moment is missing and the pronunciation of many words remains unclear. Another disadvantage is the lack of up-to-date textbooks. New trends and buzzwords are not sufficiently taken into account in the printed works.
Presence language courses
Another traditional way of learning languages is to attend language courses at university, adult education centre or language institute in Germany or abroad. The teacher will teach grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation rules to a group of students at a certain level.
Courses differ in level and intensity. Ideally, a maximum of ten people should participate. This ensures that the individual is able to speak more often. One-to-one tuition is very intensive, but it is correspondingly expensive. In group lessons it is an advantage that the team can motivate each other. As a rule, however, the teacher will have to orientate himself on the level of the worst student.
One of the disadvantages is that the language courses are inflexible and tied to time and place. If you miss an hour, you already have a lot of catching up to do. Home must be repeated on its own responsibility. Those who don’t do that can also lose the connection. In addition, many language courses are very grammatical and there is little time for conversation training. A further disadvantage are the course fees, which include the costs for the material (such as textbooks) and possibly travel expenses.
Language courses abroad are, of course, an ideal opportunity to learn languages directly where the foreign language is spoken in private as well as in class. Intensive language courses at language schools abroad are probably the most effective way to learn languages, especially for those who want to make significant progress in foreign language skills within a very short time. However, language courses at language schools abroad are by far the most expensive form of language learning.
Probably the most flexible way to learn a foreign language and prepare for studying abroad is to use language learning software. In the last few years, the number of programs has risen considerably and learners find a wide range of learning software to choose from. The learning program is called up via DVD/CD-ROM, online or by app.
Learning is based on vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation and conversation. The language software works with reading, listening and speaking exercises as well as text, image and video material, often in an entertaining context, such as interactive practical exercises such as interactive language tours, dubbing games for well-known film scenes, games, quizzes and much more.
Short lessons and repetitive exercises help to learn quickly. The web presence often includes virtual classrooms and chat rooms, which make interactive exchange possible.
The advantages of language software compared to other learning methods are obvious: On the one hand, learning is very varied and therefore less tiring. With voice software you can learn from home, but also on the go: Mobile devices and apps make training possible at any place and at any time. Audio files can be listened to on the go via smartphone, MP3 player or iPod. Regular updates ensure that the vocabulary is kept up to date – unlike textbooks, this keeps you up to date.
A certain degree of self-discipline requires the independent organization of learning phases. However, many programs help to create an individual and realistic curriculum. The right language learning programme is available on the market for every demand.