There’s the joy and excitement when kids learn they will soon be changing the environment. It’s an automatic surge of adrenaline that keeps them anxious about what to expect in the new country. Normally, its’ the good and the adventure that comes to their mind.
However, there are unforeseen challenges of your kids learning a foreign language. Some of the things that will worry you are: – How will they talk in school? How will they understand what their teachers are saying? What about requesting to go the washrooms?
Undeniably, this will be a challenge in the beginning but as you may soon realize, it’s one of the best benefits your kids will gain out of the expatriate’s life.
There are several questions that parents often ask themselves before processing the work permit or the Visa. Some of these questions are vital in the sense they relate to the point of making your kids’ life easier abroad;
- Will the process of acquiring the new language be of a great challenge to my kids?
- How long will it take for the kids to learn the new language?
- Will the language we speak inside the house affect their progress in learning the new language?
Before we delve deeper into these questions, it’s important to dissect some of the most challenging terms in language learning.
Bilingualism – This happens when two languages are acquired simultaneously before the age of 3. The major challenge with this, however, is that the process of acquiring the 2 languages may be slower. The 2 languages can be acquired at the same time though.
Second Language – This is a language that kids learn in addition to their native language. It’s a language learned after 3 years. If your kids successfully acquire their first language, you can be sure the process of acquiring the second language will be pretty fast and smooth.
We are sure now you won’t be confused while trying to learn the new languages.
What is the process of acquiring a new language like and how fast will my kids get to learn the new language?
This is a question that often baffles most parents, it’s equally of essence but depends on a number of factors.
The Need to communicate – Your kids will definitely want to communicate to the neighbor’s kids, their classmates or teachers, the desire to speak to others will push them into learning the foreign language They may feel uncomfortable or displaced in the first few days, but the desire to communicate will hasten their process of language acquisition.
Students who are lucky to find other students or teachers who speak the native language often have a difficult time acquiring the foreign language much faster. They find themselves spending much time with the students who speak their native language and as a result, may end up not investing adequate time and effort in learning the foreign language.
Supportive Educational Culture – Some international schools, for instance, may adopt special programs to help foreign students learn the new language. This will boost the students’ confidence in learning the new language and as a result, may find the process of acquiring it much faster.
Motivation – What was the facial expression of your kids when you broke the news of moving abroad? How about when they knew they have to learn a new language? What of their first day in the foreign country? If you were keen enough to notice their expressions in these instances, you can comfortably decide whether they need some motivation in learning the new language or they have the drive to push themselves.
If your kids are anxious about everything in the new country, it means they have the self-drive and motivation to learn the new language on their own. And they will start pronouncing the first words in a day or two. If they feel embarrassed or angered by the move, they might need more motivation to learn the foreign language. Always stay on the watch to keep track of how your kids react to changes in the environment.
Language Use in the House – Are you learning the foreign language together with your kids? If both you and your kids are learning the foreign language at the same time, it is important you maintain the native language while in the house. This is important as the kids would like to come back to a more comfortable environment. Speaking the foreign language, which both of you do not understand only escalates the anxiety situation and may slow down the learning process as a result.
In instances where it’s only the kids learning the foreign language, as parents, you can assume the responsibility of teaching your kids some of the basic things in the new language. Often times, it starts by pronouncing the word ‘Hello’ in the foreign language.
Parents also have the responsibility of encouraging the little ones to learn the new language. They can do this by hiring a private tutor, making them believe that making mistakes in the learning process is allowed and to some extent awarding them for good progress.
It may be a challenge learning the new language in a foreign country, but the general benefits outweigh the hustle. It normally requires some patience, optimism and encouragement to communicate comfortably in the first language