Learn with Babbel: meeting people on your adventures

There's no better way to learn a language than to do as the locals do. Meet them, greet them and hang with them for the ultimate immersion course

By National Geographic Traveller (UK)
Published 9 Apr 2019, 00:17 BST

One of the best ways of practising your language skills is, of course, chatting with the locals. Language is all about communication, so being social is key, and though it might seem scary at first, it's all about confidence. How else will you know if all those weeks of language training have paid off? You might fluff up your phrases, make some mistakes or forget some vocab, but what have you got to lose? Every language learner starts off in the same boat, so don't panic. You'll still likely be understood and people will really appreciate you having taken the time to learn their lingo.

Once you've arrived in a new country, perhaps travelling solo, you'll probably think, what now? Joining a tour of the city or region you're visiting is a great way to get your bearings and strike up some conversations. Hook on to a walking tour, or check out any nightlife tours your hostel or hotel might be offering. You'll probably find yourself in a crowd from all over the world, meaning there'll be a whole host of languages on offer. And they don't need to be native, either — just having someone to try out your tenses on will do wonders for your language skills, not least your confidence.

But if the thought of approaching someone in a bar on your travels fills you with dread (nobody likes rejection!), there are plenty of apps that make it a little easier. Dating apps are an easy, relaxed way to meet up with a local, chat over a coffee and get some local tips for the place you're visiting.

You don't need to be in that country to practise either. There are also plenty of language exchange apps out there where you can put your new skills to the test, pairing you up with speakers around the world. It's a great way to brush up and learn some useful phrases before you head off, or keep the ball rolling and maintain your newly honed skills when you return.

And another thing — people are often keen to improve their English, so use this to your advantage, too!

There's nothing better than exploring a new destination armed with the local language. We've teamed up with the language-learning gurus at Babbel to work out which language you might be best suited to learning next. All you've got to do is answer the five questions on the quiz below and we'll reveal your next adventure. Plus, there's a chance to win an iPad at the end of the quiz. 

Take the test
Ready to start learning?
For a trial lesson, head to Babbel.

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