Study Abroad Mentor Blogs

The Misconceptions of Language Abroad

Don’t be discouraged, be inspired!

By Danielle Valenti and Shannon Galindez

Danielle at La Trobe

Many people feel that they are unable to travel or study abroad in places where they do not speak or know the native language. They feel more comfortable where they wont have any trouble understanding the language spoken in the already extremely foreign place.

I had the amazing opportunity to study abroad in Australia this past semester. Although, English is the native language in Australia, it was not the reason I chose the country.  I thought I wasn’t going to have an issue with communicating because the language spoken was the same, yet I still did. The dialect and slang used there was completely different from anything I had ever been used to, and took some time to adjust to.

When choosing a country to study abroad in, the fright of being unableAustralia to understand the language is irrational, no matter where you go it will take sometime to adjust but as long as you keep an open mind and make an effort to learn you will be able to adjust and understand the language and culture. I plan on traveling much more in the future and definitely will not let a language barrier hold me back!

Danielle spent Spring 2015 at La Trobe University in Australia. Connect with her and our other Study Abroad Mentors to learn more about spending a break, summer, or semester overseas!

Shannon Galindez

There are over 6,000 languages in the world, but as scary as it may seem don’t let it stop you from visiting or studying in a non-English country. Students tend to ignore programs where English is not the primary language because they fear not being able to communicate or not being able to pass their classes. However, if you wish to take courses in English you can surely do so unless the program says otherwise.

Most of SUNY Oswego's study abroad programs offer courses in English and orientations are also offered before classes begin. This is an opportunity to take advantage of because the orientation will give an introduction on culture and lessons on language and culture.  The best advice I can offer is not to be afraid to sound ridiculous.  If you’re wrong no worries as long as you put yourself out there. Only then will you learn from your mistakes.

Shannon spent Spring 2015 at the Universidad Europea de Madrid in Spain.  Connect with her and our other Study Abroad Mentors to learn more about spending a break, summer, or semester overseas!