How to learn a foreign language when moving abroad in 2021

Are you moving abroad and secretly wishing you would have paid more attention to that French class back in college? Are you worried that your language level won’t be enough for you to work in a different country or even for you to buy your groceries? You need not worry because there are great ways for you to improve and learn a foreign language abroad, no matter your language level, budget and available time.

Many expats, students and professionals around the world get relocated or simply wish to move abroad and one of the first issues that immediately concerns people is the difficulty of learning a foreign language when moving abroad.

If you do not speak the same language as the people in your destination country, you will have to take initiative and put some commitment in trying to learn the new language as early as you can, perhaps you could start by taking a basic course or doing some research on the foreign language you want to learn when you move abroad.

Whilst it can feel daunting moving abroad and be unfamiliar with the language, there are many learning options available. If you are one of those individuals who need to learn a foreign language because you are moving abroad (or for simple self-interest), then we have the right tips for you.

A man with glasses speaking different languages. Learn a foreign language when moving abroad alone.

Best websites to learn a foreign language when moving abroad

If you are a professional who needs to learn a foreign language (or improve your language skills) for business purposes but do not have enough time to enrol in a language course, then there are highly recommended websites for you to learn from the comfort of your home.

Rosetta Stone

Rosetta Stone is one of the most popular language-learning sites. They offer a wide variety of languages (English, French, German, Russian, Turkish, Japanese, Hebrew, etc.) and you can choose the plan that best fits your needs and budget. They also offer a range of courses designed for your use of the language. For example, if you’re learning a foreign language for business purposes, then taking a ‘Business’ course is probably the best fit. Similarly, if you need to just learn the basics, then there is a ‘Personal’ option.


Another great tool for learning a foreign language when moving abroad is Duolingo. No matter what your level; you will find something new to learn. You’ll begin with a test to determine your current level of knowledge for the chosen language – this will allow Duolingo to select the right course based on your skills. Then, you have a range of grammar, vocabulary, listening, speaking and writing tasks and exercises. The course is set out like a game that you can share with your friends. You achieve points for everything you do and if you have friends learning or improving a language on Duolingo, you can also set up your own social network inside the website. And did I tell it’s all free?

Other ways to learn a foreign language when moving abroad

Taking an online course to learn a foreign language may be one of the best options and a great alternative to an actual course. Online courses can help you practice your skills and your acquired learnings on a regular basis. However, many of you will not have time to learn a foreign language by completing an entire or many different online courses. Therefore, we provide some alternative solutions and other effective ways to learn a foreign language when moving abroad.

A man learning a foreign language on the dictionary


You can also find language podcasts on both iTunes and Google Store; adding these to your phone media library and listening to them on the go will help you with everyday practice and increase your long-term memory and boost your ability to learn a foreign language when moving abroad. Also, you can listen to podcasts about your area of expertise or local news: The BBC, the Council on Foreign Relations, Radio France Internationale are just three of the numerous services providing podcasts in foreign languages. Listening to the news in a foreign language is an excellent way of both learning and remembering a language because the speakers will, most of the time be native speaker using day-to-day words and expressions.


At the same time, if you feel the need to talk in a foreign language to learn it, Polyglot is a great medium for this. It connects people from all over the world – people who want to learn a foreign language and help others. For example, if you are from the UK and you are going to live in Germany for business or personal reasons, you could help somebody learning your foreign language, in this case, English. In return, the other person that you connected with, will help you learn his/her foreign language, in this case, German.

The Polyglot community is a really effective way not only to acquire valuable knowledge and skills directly from native people but also to start building your friendship network and start connecting with people when moving abroad.

Or, you could find another ’Polyglotter’ at the same level as you and work together towards learning German. Polyglot is a great way of actually learning to speak the language because it is informal, and you can join the community in your spare time without fearing that you might not make it to class.

Different flags from the world in one photo

Last tips for learning a foreign language abroad

No matter where you will be living next, your language level, or your available time, by following the above advice you will have all the tools that you need to become confident in the language of your new home country.

Learning a new language when moving abroad can be tough, but all that is missing is some faith that everything will work out and the realisation that great things come to those who emerge themselves in new cultures even if that means stepping outside of one’s comfort zone.