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Leonardo Buzzetto's picture

Beating the Language Barrier

Hi Guys,

As you may know, many international students suffer from some kind of language barrier when they transition from their home countries. Its perfectly normal that it should happen, after all, speaking a second or third language isn’t just translating the language you already know, its learning to think in a different way and expressing your thoughts in a different way.

I suffered from a pretty large language barrier not in college, but when my family and I moved to Switzerland from Brazil. I went to an American school there but I did not speak any English back then, only Portuguese. The first few months were hard because I had trouble communicating with other students and with teachers

The things, I think, that helped me the most back then and that I think can be used by anyone that is in a new language environment, was reading a lot and observing how other people talked. This may seem simple and intuitive, but it’s not, it takes real effort to force yourself into situations you are not comfortable with, but it’s definitely worth it. By reading texts in a new language and by paying attention to how the native-speakers talk and then emulating that in your own speech, you start to build a “Database” of this new language, and start to, as I mentioned before, learn to think in that new language! From then on your fluency only improves and so does your confidence and your desire to learn more.

The best way to learn is to put yourself out there! Talk to your friends, make new friends and never feel embarrassed to practice your new language!