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  • Writer's pictureIan Gibbs

Language Learning Law 4: You Don’t Have To Live There To Learn The Language

Travelling is no longer a prerequisite for successful language learning. Countless poliglots have proved it.

Neither does living in your target language country guarantee you being able to speak it.

I previously explained how I learnt Spanish by moving to Spain but the city is bilingual, Spanish and Catalan. After twenty-six years of living here, my ability to converse in Catalan was almost zero. I never paid any attention to Catalan and I certainly never tried to speak it.

Sadly, I know several anglophones who've been here in Barcelona for more than a decade and yet their level of Spanish (and Catalan) is still pitiful.


Because they make hardly any effort to improve. They spend very little time focussing on the language and practising it.

The opposite is also true - it's perfectly possible (especially in this shrinking cyber-connected world) to focus on your target language and practise it even if you live thousands of miles away from the nearest native speaker.

You can do this in so many ways.

It's easier than ever to read it, listen to it, speak it and partake in real conversations with real native speakers - all without leaving the comfort of your own home.

Language has nothing to do with your geographical whereabouts and everything to do with how much you focus on learning it.

So stop inventing excuses and start focussing on your new language!

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