How Expat Entrepreneurs Can Learn a Language Quickly and Effectively
Are you striving to be an entrepreneur? Has it always been your dream to open your business abroad?
By RYAN PELL
It’s a great dream, but you have to contend with the reality of growing competition. In 2019 only, there were 3.2 million expat entrepreneurs in the U.S., and their businesses contributed over $1.3 trillion to the U.S. economy.
The competition is not your only problem. You’ll have to file tons of paperwork, learn how to do your taxes, and it’s all in the language you probably don’t understand yet.
So, the first thing you should do is learn the language of the country where you plan to open your business. In today’s article, we’ll discuss how to do it efficiently and, most importantly, quickly.
1. Find a Native Speaker
There’s no way around it – if you want to learn a language quickly, you need one-on-one lessons with a native speaker.
What about language learning apps? Can they help?
Language learning apps are a nice additional resource of knowledge and practice, but they are a poor substitute for a proper class with a native speaker, and here’s why.
1) You need structure
A native speaker will combine all four language learning skills (reading, listening, writing, and speaking) in one lesson organically. The structure is essential for learning a language. Otherwise, your knowledge will be all over the place.
2) You need to get rid of your accent
It’s natural for your native language’s phonetic system to impact your speech when you’re learning a foreign language. However, your accent can sometimes be the reason why people don’t understand you.
Besides, some languages have very complex phonetic systems. For instance, if you learn French step-by-step, you won’t be able to read or write until you can fully master all the French sounds and diphthongs.
A native speaker can guide you through the phonetic difficulties and explain many phenomena that an app could not. Also, listening to a native speaker will help you phase out the accent.
3) You need language immersion
Let’s face it – you will probably want to ask questions or explain something in your own language if you don’t know something yet. Your brain is trying to find an easy way out. So, you have to force it to use the new language. Otherwise, it will be hard to adapt to a new environment.
With a native speaker, you won’t have the luxury of speaking your native language. Your teacher will only talk to you in their language, forcing your brain to regroup and providing complete language immersion.
2. Set a Schedule
When you start learning a new language, you need to be realistic about your capabilities. If you are well aware of how much time you can dedicate to language lessons, it will be easier for you to set a schedule and define clear goals.
But how much does it take to learn a new language in general?
According to research, it takes 480 hours to learn languages like German, French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish, and 720 hours to learn languages like Bulgarian, Hindi, Finnish, Russian, Polish, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.
Regardless of the language you’re learning, consistency is key. Make sure you dedicate an hour a day to practice your skills, even if you don’t have a lesson that day. A language learning app can be an amazing resource for additional practice.
3. Create Situations to Practice Your Knowledge
Speaking about practice, you also need to force yourself into situations where you won’t have a choice other than speaking a foreign language.
For instance, if you want to expand your business overseas and need to file the paperwork, don’t outsource this task to anyone. Try doing it yourself instead. Yes, you will probably have many questions, but don’t shy away from asking them – it will help you feel more confident speaking a foreign language.
Learning a language is all about practice. When you’re an expat entrepreneur, you can practice it everywhere – a business meeting, a government institution, and even a restaurant. Your brain will try to trick you into avoiding these situations, so you’ll have to force it in the beginning. But after a while, you will get the hang of it.
Over to You
If you want to become an expat entrepreneur, you need to set your priorities straight. And one of these priorities is learning a foreign language.
It’s common to think that it takes ages to learn a new language, but it’s not true. All you need is a native speaker, consistency, and practice. And, before you know it, you’ll already be fluent in a foreign language.