It’s so easy to travel as a native English speaker that sometimes we forget there are other languages besides our own. Almost any country we choose to visit will have at least some trace of English speakers in the airports, bus stations and capital cities we stop in. It’s unimaginable, then, what non-native English speakers have to do to prepare to go overseas.
Maybe you can actually relate though more than you think. Just in the way that those non-native English speakers learn a bit of English, you, too, can take classes wherever you are with language course providers like Listen & Learn or Babbel. And, given that we are in 2018 and technology means limitless possibilities, you could learn a language with the classic Rosetta Stone or do something a little more modern with Memrise.
Regardless, figuring out the ‘how’ is half the battle; then comes the ‘why’. Learning a little language for when you are travelling is not only something that can be useful and practical, but can also be a lot of fun, too. So if you are considering learning a few words for the destination you’re heading for this summer, here are some more reasons to encourage you.
Yes, it’s true, you can probably get by in any bar, restaurant or hotel you are in by pointing at the menus and signs. But if you have the basic words for a few food and drink items, some language for things like directions and the places you want to visit, as well as hotel essentials like the room, towels, and what time is breakfast, then you are off to a great start. It can put you at ease knowing a few of the words instead of turning up and not having a clue how to even say hello.
By learning a little vocabulary, we guarantee you will have a better experience on holiday. A few polite words to servers, taxi drivers, and those poor unsuspecting locals you ask directions can make all the difference to your day. And instead of sticking to the traditional tourist areas and routes, if you are armed with a little language you can go a little further afield, safe in the knowledge you have enough words to get by.
Okay, so it’s your holiday, and we sincerely hope you don’t face any difficulties when you are so far from home. But if you do, having a little language to back you up can make all the difference to how you handle the situation. Whether it’s asking for directions to a hospital, or knowing just enough vocabulary to get you through a conversation at a pharmacist with gesticulating, and questions like how much is this, a few words will help you feel calmer and in control.
Well, perhaps not pleasing, but isn’t it easier to make friends if you can speak the same language as them? It doesn’t have to be a deep and meaningful conversation, but enough words to get you by when you meet new people at a bar or at a tourist spot while taking pictures will serve you well. And who knows, if you get chatting to your barista or the person serving you at the supermarket, what local, hidden gems might be revealed to you that a non-language speaker wouldn’t get to know about?
In short, learning a little language for travelling can provide you with opportunities you haven’t yet imagined. Wherever you’re headed, we hope it is an amazing trip for you!
*This is a collaborative guest post