You don’t learn a language by moving to the country

In the United States, we have this idea that we need to move to the country to learn the language. Want to learn French? Study in France for a few semesters. Spanish? Spend some time south of the border.

That’s not really how it works anymore. If you’re studying French in France, yeah, you’ll probably learn it. Same for Spanish in Mexico. But the move itself won’t teach you the language.

Thousands of English teachers live in South Korea without learning more than a dozen phrases in Korean. No one teaching English in Saudi learns Arabic. It’s one of the biggest shocks for newcomers: “Oh, I actually have to put in the work.”

On the upside, there are tons of people who learn a foreign language within their native country. More people study English in China than speak English in the United States. They put in the work.

You don’t learn a language by moving to the country. You learn a language by learning the language.