Foreign Language Skills Abroad
We cannot stress enough the importance of learning the language of your new country. Even if English is widely spoken there, learning the native language enables you to truly immerse yourself in the local culture. At the very least, learning enough words and phrases to demonstrate an interest and respect for that culture will go a long way toward helping you settle in abroad.
One member of Expat Exchange explains, "In order to feel 'at home,' being able to understand and speak some of the language - at least daily conversation, is important. A person can survive in a different country and culture, but to be relaxed and have a true feeling of fitting in and being aware of the feel of the culture and peoples attitudes, local language skills are important. I know many expats who never bothered to learn the local language. They never fit in, never felt at ease, and were never accepted, on a personal level, by the local people - what a pity. Those expats lost a wonderful opportunity for personal and cultural enrichment and enjoyment."
Another expat in Vienna, Austria said, " I was culturally burnt out by the time I moved to Austria, after living in two other countries within the year. I was not interested nor had the energy to learn another language, never mind, listen to one. However, I did learn basic words and phrases to get by. In retrospect, I would begin to learn the language before hand and build on it once living in the country. As studying and practicing a language is very different."
Start to Learn the Language Before You Go
Before you move, consider using an online language learning tool to start learning the language. Once there, you may decide that online learning is the best way to continue to learn. Or, if you have the time and desire, you may want to consider taking language classes so that you can meet other expats and locals.