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Learn a New Language

Try these easy suggestions to help you pick up some key phrases before your next trip abroad.

illustration of a man speaking in French, German and Mandarin, image
Photo caption
When you travel abroad, the locals appreciate it when you try and speak their language.

Studying a language can be a frustrating experience. Who wants to memorize vocabulary lists and grapple with baffling grammar rules? Try these easier ways to pick up key phrases before you take off for a trip abroad.

GET TALKING Bypass written tests and reading assignments: Sign up for a conversational class.

DIVE INTO THE MEDIA Flip through a French magazine, watch an Italian movie, listen to Spanish pop.

SING ALONG If you listen to a song a few times, you quickly learn the words—that’s the theory behind the Berlitz Rush Hour Express CD series.

LABEL EVERYTHING Use Post-its to label items in your house—from the sink to the bed—with their foreign names.

FIND A PEN PAL Practice a language by writing emails to a native speaker learning English. Visit

Illustration by Maxine Cass

This article was first published in March 2006. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.