1 year in a foreign country vs 3 years of school study

Which would you choose to improve your foreign language?

5
83.3%

1
16.7%

This poll will run forever.

Elf
Posts114Likes 78Joined 8/10/2018LocationPH
Native
English, Tagalog
Learning Japanese

I was thinking about this last night. If you were to choose between the 2, which would be the better option to drastically improve your skills in a language?


My thoughts:


Foreign country - You'll probably struggle at first especially when there's no one to teach you the technical side of the language. But you'll eventually get the language via osmosis and constant practice. 


School study - Gradual progression is a good benefit when you learn in a class. However relying too much on books can be detrimental as there are cases where guys who learn solely from books sound "unnatural" in the way they express themselves. 




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#1
Elf
Posts125Likes 95Joined 3/9/2018LocationSkopje / MK
Native
Macedonian
Other Arabic - Gulf, English, French, Spanish, Serbian

I definitely choose 1 year in the country as you can always dig out books that will help you around the grammar, but it is way more motivational and thriving, since you don't even have a choice to think twice and hesitate, you just have to learn it if you want to blend easier. And it's a great challenge for some of us that love learning languages. I find that the whole setting and environment is a great boost too. Hearing it all the time is so helpful and it adjusts your brain to receive it more easily. You can also always hire a private teacher or a language exchange practitioner and improve and accelerate your language learning process. 


Regarding the other thing you mentioned, I think a student can sound "unnatural" due to the teacher that is teaching and the techniques he/she is using to transfer the knowledge. Some teachers are really dull and untalented/unmotivated and/or teach mechanically, not even enjoying what they're doing, so it's expected and normal that the "product" sounds "unnatural". But in a group, a teacher can't really focus on individuals so it's often normal that the teaching takes this course. 

The books aren't the enemy, the way we approach books and the activity we're undertaking is/can be. Books ARE designed to keep you motivated, amused, concentrated. That's what I believe. 


Great topic really! Great alternatives 


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#2
Elf
Posts114Likes 78Joined 8/10/2018LocationPH
Native
English, Tagalog
Learning Japanese

Mai wrote:
Regarding the other thing you mentioned, I think a student can sound "unnatural" due to the teacher that is teaching and the techniques he/she is using to transfer the knowledge. Some teachers are really dull and untalented/unmotivated and/or teach mechanically, not even enjoying what they're doing, so it's expected and normal that the "product" sounds "unnatural".


I think another reason why this happens is because some language learners tend to use the sentence pattern of the material they studied. this is not applicable to all study materials of course, but I've heard from some English learners in China that the books that they used had correct but archaic grammar patterns, and they really find it difficult to form more natural sounding conversations.


BTW, I'd take the 1st option too. Full immersion to language is the best way to improve in my opinion. :)


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#3
Hobbit
Posts10Likes 8Joined 7/10/2018LocationLaguna / PH
Native
English, Tagalog
Other Chinese - Mandarin, French, Spanish

Would definitely choose 1 year in a foreign country. The harder the challenge, the better the rewards. 

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#4
Ranger
Posts287Likes 160Joined 11/7/2018LocationManila / PH
Native
Tagalog
Learning English, Korean

Living in a foreign country. Immersion is one of the best ways to learn and what better way to immerse than to live there. :)

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#5
Ranger
Posts228Likes 119Joined 16/9/2018Location
Native
Spanish
Other English, Italian

Option 1, and you will be surprised of the progress you can do in even less than a year. My kids just spending 1 month in my country come back speaking a lot more. If they were to spent a year they can be at a fluent level.  

-Ari-

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#6
Ranger
Posts204Likes 112Joined 6/10/2018LocationLagos / NG
Native
English
Other French

"An ounce of practice is worth more than a pound of theory"

"Reading 10,000 books is not as useful as traveling 10,000 miles"

"It is better to walk thousands of miles than to read thousands of books"

Right here in my country, we have some graduates of mechanical engineering who when presented with a faulty car for example,won't know what to do. Give that same car to a mechanic who didn't go to school but has been working cars his whole life, he'll fix it for you even with his eyes closed.

Long story short, experience is always the best teacher. I'd rather travel to a country of choice than bury my face in in a book.

Kevwe A.

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#7
Elf
Posts171Likes 88Joined 11/7/2018Location
Native
Tagalog
Other English, German, Spanish

 A friend of mine lived in Germany for one year. Now she is a tutor here and earning a lot of money. :)

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#8
Elf
Posts135Likes 81Joined 3/9/2018LocationLagos / NG
Native
English
Learning French

I’d pick option 1. I have google,books. Having people speak a different language around me for one will push me to learn harder to be able to communicate.

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#9
Ent
Posts742Likes 460Joined 18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
Native
English
Learning Korean
Other Chinese - Mandarin, French, Japanese, Russian, Spanish, Swahili, Tagalog, Thai

I'd say it depends on what I'm allowed to do in either scenario. 

Signature

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#10
Ranger
Posts291Likes 147Joined 10/7/2018LocationBinan City / PH
Native
Tagalog
Other English

I noticed that there is a poll above so I answered there, and here is my explanations. I have chosen that because I believe I'll learn faster and better in that situation.

Edzky-18

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#11
Dwarf
Posts50Likes 35Joined 6/10/2018LocationIrpin / UA
Native
Russian, Ukrainian
Other Dutch, English, German, Italian, Polish, Spanish

If there is a chance to attend a language course in the foreign country, I wouldn`t think twice about it 

It often happens so, however, that people go to the foreign country to learn/practice the language, but they get stuck within their bubble (e.g. chat only with the people from their own country) , which is not conducive to language learning. Another point, is if a person goes to the country to work there, and doesn`t have time to practice the language (say, they speak English in the office).

I believe it doesn`t make much sense to go to the foreign country with a zero level of the language. It is a huge challenge in all regards. I would rather learn the basics on my own, and then go to the country of my dreams to deepen my knowledge. This way, one year spent in that country would be spent most efficiently.



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#12
Ranger
Posts308Likes 223Joined 8/7/2018LocationAlmeria / ES
Native
English
Other Arabic - Egyptian, French, German, Spanish

I studied Spanish for 5 years and got anA* but I have learnt more in my 2 years here in person than I ever did from books

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#13
Hobbit
Posts32Likes 20Joined 8/10/2018LocationWien / AT
Native
French, German
Other Arabic - Standard, Japanese, Chinese - Cantonese

Being in a foreign country and socializing, meeting people is always best. And always ask questions. Never shy away from asking how to say something. I learned so much that way.

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#14
Ranger
Posts308Likes 223Joined 8/7/2018LocationAlmeria / ES
Native
English
Other Arabic - Egyptian, French, German, Spanish

Yes the biggest obstacle is not being afraid to askquestions


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#15
Elf
Posts111Likes 96Joined 4/10/2018Location
Native
Chinese - Mandarin, English, Chinese - Cantonese
Other French, Indonesian, Russian, Thai, Vietnamese

I'd personally prefer 1 year in a foreign country - more opportunities for practice. But having said that, it really depends on individuals. When I lived in China/Vietnam, my rule was, no English. I do know of several people who, when they go overseas, they simply form enclaves with people from the same country. In which case, I think it's probably best if they simply stayed at home.

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#16
Ranger
Posts308Likes 223Joined 8/7/2018LocationAlmeria / ES
Native
English
Other Arabic - Egyptian, French, German, Spanish

meifeng wrote:

I'd personally prefer 1 year in a foreign country - more opportunities for practice. But having said that, it really depends on individuals. When I lived in China/Vietnam, my rule was, no English. I do know of several people who, when they go overseas, they simply form enclaves with people from the same country. In which case, I think it's probably best if they simply stayed at home.


I completely agree with the enclaves statement it is like that here in Spain little expat communities in concentrated spots and they barely speak more than please and thank you despite living here 20 years

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#17