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How to survive in a country where you don’t speak the language ?

You are probably reading this because you are moving to a country for Education or Work and don’t speak their language. Moving abroad to a country where you don’t speak the language will be one of the most stressful times of your life, it will be hard and lonely, but it could also be the best thing you ever did.

The most common countries where students face this problem are France, Germany, and the Quebec region of Canada. Being common countries that attract a lot of student population, these are amongst the ones that are not extremely welcoming. Most other countries are native English Speaking making the transition easy.

If anything, for native English speakers, it is a completely unique experience to be surrounded by another language and people who don’t understand you. It’s truly humbling to feel so vulnerable and to understand what people from communities around the world must go through every day. It can feel isolating and lonely at times – one misses the banter with random strangers in the street or in the supermarket, or on nights out. It can be frustrating when you’re with a group of German/French people and they all slip back into speaking their language very fast so you don’t understand a word of what is being said.

The important question is can one survive in this atmosphere?

Yes, you will but that’s what it will be survival. There’s a difference between just existing in a place and letting it fill your soul and every fiber of your being. Learning the language and being able to chat with friends and join in their conversation, to incorporate the language into work and every part of life – just like the food, the customs, the humor, and the lifestyle – it’s all part of the experience of living in that country. Because that’s what you signed up for, not just living an ordinary life in any other country.

I promise it is not as scary as you think. If you take the time to familiarize yourself with the right things, it becomes much more manageable. You’ll soon find yourself enjoying your new city and feeling much more prepared than before!