10 life hacks, how to upgrade English before traveling
Tags: travel trips tripmydream english life hack
May 10, 2018
There are tons of things that can go wrong on a trip. Our goal is to make English not one of them..
Together with the teachers of First Cambridge Education Center, we prepared 10 life hacks that will help you out in a foreign country.
1. Simplify your life – book everything in advance
A trick that will save you a lot of nerve cells. If your English is not as good as we would like, try to be as prepared as possible for the trip. Even in Ukraine, you should make sure that you can pay with your card abroad, book a hotel, book a transfer and solve most of these issues – this is the guarantee of a carefree holiday.
Of course, then collisions with English cannot be avoided – but much can be settled in advance. And in order to prepare for communication with foreigners, if necessary, you can begin to communicate with Ukrainian call-centers, and not with foreign ones.
2. Learn to spell a name
What is your name? When traveling, you will constantly have to answer this question. If the name is complex and long, then locals can hardly repeat it and, moreover, write it down without errors. Introduce yourself simply: not Alex, but Alex, instead of Dmitry – Dima, Yaroslav – Glory.
If the situation requires you to write data as in your passport, be prepared for the question: Could you, please, spell your name? (Can you spell the name?). Choose your words in advance and rehearse the answer: Iryna – I as in ice-cream, R as in rabbit, Y as in yoga, N as in nose, A as in apple. With a surname the same.
3. Find people to talk to
If possible, sign up for English courses or weekend classes. Even a couple of lessons with a Skype tutor will be welcome. Your task before the trip is to surround yourself with English and find interlocutors. If you are not surrounded by English-speaking friends, look for them on the Internet. For example, the Italki resource will allow you to tighten English with someone in exchange for Russian lessons.
4. Try to speak English by phone
Very often on a trip you need to call somewhere – make an appointment, book a table or call an ambulance. Play situational games with your interlocutor or tutor: sit with your back to a friend and friend and play dialogue. As during a telephone conversation, you will not see the partner’s face and you won’t be able to use gestures. Try to explain what’s what.
5. Throw yourself into the thick of things
Try to describe everything you see and everything you do. Learn words that are lacking, and do not avoid difficulties: if a foreigner asks you how to get somewhere, explain, but do not pass by. You need to translate something – take up the translation with double zeal. Films and books in English – your mast. Subscribe to EngVid: Learn English teacher channels on YouTube and go through the main topics that will be useful to you – at the airport, hotel, restaurant.
6. Follow the pace of your speech italyholidays.
If we get nervous, we start talking faster. Learn to control the pace and pause between words. Try pulling themes at random (for example, using Random Conversation Starters) and record responses to audio. Have you said everything legibly? Will someone else understand your answer if you drop him a record? In addition, prepare phrases in case you yourself do not understand the interlocutor: “Sorry, I didn’t quite catch an idea” or “Could you please explain it once more?” Do not be afraid to clarify. Repeat what you understand and add: “Am I right?” – That’s right?
7. Install offline translators
A mobile phone is your lifesaver. Even the most ordinary Google Translate, you will often say thank you on a trip. Install translators and dictionaries that work without an internet connection. To them add a couple of useful programs like Google Goggles (allows you to search for a word and its translation by photo) or Word Lens Translator (will translate the text on the window or the text of the menu if you put the smartphone’s camera on them).
8. Learn emergency vocabulary
It’s clear that you will need a set of simple words like ‘excuse me’ and ‘thank you’, and with them all the interrogative words ‘what’, ‘when’, ‘how’, ‘why’, etc. In addition to them, you need to learn a dictionary for emergencies – something related to safety and medicine. Learn words in small portions and repeat regularly. Your task is, if necessary, to be able to explain what hurts, what you are allergic to, how you can be helped.
9. Travel virtually
Go to Youtube with a simple ‘Travel to …’ request and add your destination country. There will be streams and videos from other travelers. Watch these videos in English: pay attention to the names of the main attractions and streets, some tips on orientation in the city. 2-3 videos a day – and the city will no longer seem so alien. Similar content can be searched on Pinterest..
10. Sign up for free tours
This is advice on arrival. Check out Free Walking Tours. This is a community that organizes free city tours (tips can also be left to tip for guides). Tours are designed for visitors from different countries, so English is pretty simple. It’s clear, accessible, interesting – and most importantly, very useful for your language practice.
Typically, Free Walking Tours guides can be identified by the colorful umbrellas under which the group gathers.
And a bonus life hack from the academic director of First Cambridge Education Center, teacher Alena Trigub.
Oddly, you can learn how to perceive speech by ear, strangely enough, with the help of films. At the same time, they should be without subtitles, since subtitles distract us, and we switch to reading more, forgetting about the need to listen.
First, try to watch the same movie first with English subtitles, and then without them. So you will not worry that you do not understand anything, because you have already seen the text. In the first minutes, it may be scary and unusual, it may even seem that you do not understand absolutely anything. But this is normal, the main thing is not to give up. After 10 minutes of viewing, the brain adapts to the perception of English by ear, and everything will become much clearer. Try using this method for multiple films..
The next step is to watch TV shows without subtitles. It’s better to choose something really interesting and exciting. It is possible at the same time that the essence of the first series will pass by you, and you will understand from the strength of 10% of conversations. But with each new series it will be easier to understand, and by the end of the season, it is quite possible that you will already get as much pleasure from watching as it would be in your native language. The thing is that over time, the brain adapts to the characteristics of the speech of the heroes, and it becomes much easier to perceive.
The third and final stage is to immediately watch feature films without subtitles. If you faithfully completed the previous tasks, this will not become an impossible task for you, and in time you will find that you easily perceive 80% or even more already during live communication with native speakers.
If you are interested in English, and in preparation for the trip you wanted to refresh it, it may very well be that in the process you will understand that you would like to know it better. First Cambridge Education Center is now enrolling for summer intensive courses – sign up, and by the next trip you will feel the difference.
Tags: travel trips tripmydream english life hack