Not understanding the language has consequences for immigrants

Not understanding the language has consequences for immigrants

Language and the spoken word is our most direct way of communicating. It’s how we connect with others and how we make sure our needs are met. Without proper communication it can lead to:

  • Living in Isolation.
  • Compounded challenges by an inability to communicate with locals.
  • The language barrier creates a division in everyday life

It’s only natural to feel lost, confused or anxious when you can’t speak a local language, or struggle to speak it well. The secret is to develop a committed belief in yourself.

Expats in a new country or culture also have to deal with nuances such as slang, context and different communication styles. Mastering all of this can become especially intimidating when there are expectations from a partner or parent-in-law, children or locals who are more adept. Anxiety can also inhibit us from noticing relevant or important language messages from those around us, which may lead to more misunderstandings.

Here are some of the most common challenges:

“I can’t express myself properly because I can’t find the exact words I need.”
“I struggle to discuss complex subjects, because I just don’t have the same depth of vocabulary as I do in my native language.”
“I’m struggling with grammatical constructs that I don’t even know in my own language!”
“I can’t access the healthcare system because I don’t speak the language.”
“I feel like an outsider/I feel self-conscious because I have an accent.”
“I can’t support my children with school subjects/homework.”
“Some of my mistakes, or the way I say things, offend people.”
“I feel anxious about speaking in groups.”
“I feel left out because my partner/kids speak the language.”


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