20 great language breakthrough moments for year abroaders
For most students, a Year Abroad is not just about exploring new cultures, partying with foreign friends and eating and drinking a ridiculous amount. For those of you who also have to factor in the challenge of improving your language skills, these breakthrough moments might just be familiar...
1. The first time you speak to someone in their language and they DON'T immediately reply in English.
2. When you sit with a group of locals and can actually follow the conversation without feeling like your head is about to implode.
3. When your friends/family come to visit and watch in awe as you happily chat with waiters/shop assistants in the local language.
4. When you come home and realise you can't speak English anymore - your sentence structures have gone to pot, your vocab has disappeared from your head and don't get me started on the hand gestures...
5. When you constantly drop foreign phrases into conversation with an English-speaking friend and neither of you bats an eyelid.
6. When someone asks you for directions and you know exactly where they mean (this feeling is especially good if they're nationals).
7. When you visit another city and they can tell where you're spending your Year Abroad from your accent.
8. When you're able to eavesdrop on public transport (so satisfying if they're actually talking about you).
9. When you Skype your loved ones in the UK one evening and suddenly realise that's the first time you've spoken English that day.
10. When you become mysteriously fluent after a few pints of sangria.
11. When speaking to someone on the phone stops being a living nightmare and starts being mundane.
12. When someone asks you a question and you're able to respond without freezing with panic.
13. When you finally understand what the old man who lives next door is saying to you when you bump into him in the stairwell.
14. When you don't only understand your friend's flatmate's crazy accent, but can pinpoint exactly where in the country they're from.
15. When you can't remember a certain word in English and end up looking super pretentious.
16. When you correct the pronunciation/usage of foreign expressions in English sentences ('THERE'S NO 'X' IN ESPRESSO')
17. When someone back home asks for your phone number and you recite it in couplets, taking about a million years...
18. Meeting someone from your year abroad destination when you're not there and excitedly chatting about it in the language of the place.
19. Understanding a comedy show and actually laughing at the jokes - not just to fit in but because you actually GET it.
20. When you not only recognise all the foreign songs that come on when you're clubbing, but know all the words - and corresponding dance moves.