4 Replies from Mentors
PeterJunior Year StudentFairfield UniversityI think it is beneficial but it in many cases it is not critical. To prepare, I would take a course in it over the summer or during the semester prior to leaving.
MichaelJunior Year StudentLoyola Marymount UniversityI think it’s a good idea to know at least a very minimal amount of the host country’s language before going. The first week or two abroad is a very hectic time, and the stress of this can be reduced by knowing at least a small amount of the native language. Part of the fun of being abroad is learning the language from experience, so it really isn’t necessary to have a thorough knowledge of the language before going.
KimberlySenior Year StudentLoyola Marymount UniversityIt all depends on the program with which you study abroad. Some programs require prior knowledge of the language while others do not. In my program, we did not need to know Chinese before going. Although I learned a lot of the language while in China, I wish that I had at least known some key phrases. It would have been easier my first couple of days there to be able to communicate effectively. My advice is to take into account what country you will study abroad in. If they speak your native language, then it will be less problematic to get around compared to those countries that barely speak your language at all. Nevertheless, it will not hurt to know some of the language.
Shannon WilsonSales RepresentativePolymer Science, Inc.Though it is not 100% necessary to be fluent in the host country’s language, knowing a few key phrases such as “thank you”, “please”, “hello”, etc. is essential for your survival abroad. Not only are there practical benefits for knowing these phrases, but there are also social ones. The natives of the host country will treat you with more respect if you at least make an attempt to speak their language.