How to overcome language barriers while studying abroad?

How to overcome language barriers while studying abroad?

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By Prabhadri Suman|Updated On - 2023-01-25 06:51:55

<p>When studying abroad in a country where they don&#39;t speak your native language, you&#39;re likely to run into language barriers. Here are some tips to overcoming language barrier while studying abroad. Let&#39;s get started.</p>

How to overcome language barriers while studying abroad?

Topics Covered:

  • How do language barriers affect the international student experience?
  • How do you deal with language barriers while studying abroad?
  • How to overcome language barriers as an international student?
  • How to communicate with someone with a language barrier?
  • How to break language barriers?
  • Conclusion

For many students, studying abroad is a dream come true. Many students work for nearly a year to get a spot at their desired university. Dreams are often filled with obstacles.

Language barriers for international students are one of the challenges they face studying abroad. So many students have struggled to communicate with a fluent speaker of a foreign language. It is true that it’s difficult to speak their native language.


How do language barriers affect the international student experience?

According to research conducted by two schools in Texas, US, international students often feel socially isolated when participating in group activities, since language barriers for international students makes them struggle. This may lead to a sense of role conflict or difficulty in getting good jobs as per the degree.

How do you deal with language barriers while studying abroad?


Use plain language

Whether a student is working with someone who knows your primary language as a secondary, or you’re trying to communicate a deeply technical problem to your non-technical co-workers, everyone should get in the habit of using plain language whenever possible. While many people try to use difficult words to make themselves sound intelligent or good at their jobs, they’re not doing anyone any favors.

Make friends

Make local acquaintances and friends who will help you grasp the country's culture and language by putting yourself out there. Furthermore, once a student begins interacting with them, they are likely to provide them with the most useful advice on how to communicate effectively in their country. This is the simplest method for improving everyday conversational skills.

Don't be shy

Students may feel uncomfortable or ashamed when speaking with new people in a foreign country. They can't learn overseas foreign languages for five years and then start conversing. Students must be bold and speak up with confidence. It will become second nature after a few discussions as they begin to understand what the other person is saying.

Use visual methods of communication

Visual methods are extremely useful for keeping everyone on the same page, as well as for thinking more imaginatively about new ideas. This by far is the safest approach to begin the procedures. 

By watching as many movies or television series as possible, you will undoubtedly improve your command of the language. Movies are narratives with a lot of debates in them. As a result, learning a new language in this manner is simple.

Invest in a language dictionary

While a majority of students have access to online translation platforms, most of these services are unreliable for longer texts and full sentences. Instead, investing in a language dictionary is an embarrassment-free method of getting familiar with local phrases and language nuances.

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Learn and repeat

Just keep on speaking. Learn new words and form sentences out of them. Record what you speak and listen to it. This will help you to speak the language faster. Download some language learning apps, and students will be off to a flying start. No need to write and practice if you just want to speak.

This is one of the most important tips for overcoming language barrier. When studying abroad, simply keep conversing to overcome language problems. 


Plan and be prepared

If students study abroad , they might volunteer with locals or go out with native speakers of the language they are learning. Ahead of time, students should think about the people they are going to be with, their interests, and what they are curious to know. Use this information to formulate a handful of questions or comments in advance. 


Ask for help

Language barrier for international students makes them shy, but this is especially true for students seeking to establish a connection with their teacher. Students can ask their professors to study language abroad and help them in learning a new language that would help them communicate better.


Language exchange programs

In addition to typical language programs, language exchanges and meet-ups are becoming more popular. You can check to see if your host country offers such services. In general, these events allow international and local students to swap languages for a short period of time. This is a fantastic opportunity for foreign students to meet and interact with students from other countries.

Many language exchange programs will have a guide with basic topics to cover, such as the phonetic alphabet, greetings, and everyday phrases. Of course, students shouldn’t stress about getting all these things down perfectly, as they’ll be reinforced once students get to the country and start taking classes. 

Take Lessons

If a student is planning to spend some time in another country, they can look into local language classes. It’s a good way to meet people as well as to learn. If students want some help with learning the language or really want to up their game, they can get one-on-one online tutoring sessions. 

Students choose their teachers and take lessons whenever it’s convenient for them. Students benefit as they are not just reading from a book or listening to a recording, but actually interacting in real-time with someone fluent in the language they want to learn. 


Use Technology

Google Translate is still one of the best online resources to help break the language barrier since it’s simple and basic. But it has some other powerful features as well, like offering a native speaker’s pronunciation of a word or phrase. 


Group Discussions

If students are bored and find difficulty overcoming language barrier on their own, they can discover like-minded people and work together to overcome obstacles. Group lessons are extremely beneficial to their advancement. After all, in group sessions, being an active and attentive listener is a critical skill to cultivate. 


How to overcome language barriers as an international student?

Be patient

Initially, you cannot expect your communication to occur with the same speed and ease as when communicating with someone from your own culture. Cross-cultural communication indeed takes more time.


It is important to speak slowly and clearly

Focus on enunciating and slowing down your speech, even under time constraints. You should not rush through your communication, even in a hurry. Miscommunication and misunderstanding result when you rush, and in the end, you will have to invest extra time in clearing up the confusion.


Ask for clarification

If you are not 100% confident that you have heard what others are saying. Avoid making assumptions about what has been said.


It is essential to check for understanding

  Whether you have fully understood what has been said or whether others have fully understood you. Reflective listening can help you assess your own understanding.


Avoid using informal words and phrases

It can be challenging for those learning a new language to understand slang words and expressions, mainly if they come from a distinct cultural background. Slang should therefore be avoided until your international acquaintance has gained a firm grasp on the language, so they can better understand what you are saying.


Encourage Peer Interaction

It's best to learn overseas foreign language when it's regularly used and helpful. Because English-speaking acquaintances will require the student to understand English in order to communicate, making friends will give him a reason to communicate. Therefore, peer interaction may be a great way to help a student learn English.


How to communicate with someone with a language barrier?

Use simple language

It is crucial for every person to adopt the plain language, whether you are communicating a complex issue or talking with someone who knows your native language as a secondary language. When there's a miscommunication or someone feels bad about not understanding what you're saying, it's likely because you're using jargon or uncommon vocabulary. 

Visual methods of communication

It's often easier to express ourselves by acting rather than talking, particularly when words fail us. Visual cues are essential for keeping everyone on the same page and stimulating new ideas, and thinking creatively.

Be respectful

Language barriers may be frustrating because they require patience, understanding, and conscientiousness. When you or friends are having difficulty communicating, you should never yell or over-enunciate. Instead of speaking louder or more forcefully, talk slower. A language barrier does not always mean that the individual does not have the intelligence or ability to understand the concept behind what you're saying. Use proper English as you seek common ground so they may learn how to interpret correctly that may lead to overcoming language barrier.


How to break language barriers?

Increasing your language skills, introducing cultural context to your learning, finding other ways to express yourself, using simple words, and not being afraid to make mistakes are the best ways to overcome language barriers. Using various strategies together will help you eliminate and overcome language barriers effectively.


It takes months to master a language, for some languages, it may take years. All students need is patience and persistence to go through the process. If students could spend some time learning the language before starting the mission, it would be great.

Get on board with the Edmissions team by signing up at edmissions.com if you need help overcoming language barrier while studying abroad. So, keep trying and don't let language be a barrier to your study abroad success.  To learn more reach us at [email protected]

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