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Expats encouraged to learn language

Aspiring expatriates who plan to set up home in a particular country have been encouraged to learn its language first.

According to Lindsay de Feliz, marketing manager at Expat Focus, this can be crucial if a person wants to enjoy the experience of living a non-English speaking nation.

She acknowledged that some people are better at learning foreign languages, but insisted that fluency is not essential. Indeed, she said picking up the basics would help them interact with the locals on a limited basis.

Ms de Feliz stated that once expats become more confident using the language, they will possibly be able to establish personal relationships with residents.

"Learning the language is one of the best ways to make friends," she insisted.

Consumers were advised there are several ways of learning to speak another language, such as going to a specialist school or having a private teacher. Alternatively, a computer or television programme could be used, along with textbooks.

Ms de Feliz advised people to work out which method suits them best and practise what they have learned every day. This, she said, will help to improve their confidence and help it sink in.

"Wherever you are in the world, the local people will always appreciate someone who is making the effort to speak in their language," Ms de Feliz commented.

"Not only will your experience of the country be richer, you will make friends more quickly and enjoy being part of a new culture."

This comes after research by NatWest International Personal Banking found that more than two-thirds of expats have succeeded in assimilating into their new society. Dave Isley, head of the organisation, said this is very encouraging, as integrating with the local community is an important part of making the most of a move abroad.

Figures showed that many British expats do not regret their decision to leave the UK behind, with 87 per cent saying it was the right move for them to take.

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