There is truly no better feeling than the excitement of embarking on that new overseas adventure. Months of research, preparation and eager anticipation culminating to this moment. But this enthusiasm can be so easily lost to the stress of arriving in a new country and not being able to understand the world around you.
Don’t be daunted - we are not suggesting you should become fluent in the language of every country you plan on visiting! But, taking the time to learn the basic beginner phrases will be your key in unlocking a much more enriching experience. So if the idea of ongoing awkward encounters with locals throughout your trip isn’t enough to convince you, here are five more compelling reasons to learn the local language before you travel:
There is no more nerve wracking experience than attempting to navigate your first day in a new city, particularly after arriving in a foreign country where the local language isn’t English. The loud rush of airport security, the intricate maze of public transport, ordering that daunting first meal at a restaurant. All of these experiences rely on social interaction and would be infinitely easier if you could understand the information signs or at the very least read the menu!
Meet New People:
For many travellers, highlights of their trips abroad usually include the memories of people they meet, and it is these meaningful interactions that create the most lasting impressions. Speaking the local language allows you to meet new people, and build relationships - however short that interaction may be.
You needn't be an advanced speaker either, with perfect grammar and pronunciation because everyone will simply appreciate the effort! We promise each guide, vendor, waiter or receptionist you meet will be thrilled at any attempt to speak their native language rather than assuming they have learnt English. You may surprise yourself with the things you will discover!
Travel Like a Local:
By learning to speak the language, you will also have the ability to travel like a local and avoid some of the tourist traps filled with hundreds of camera-clutching tourists. Have a more authentic experience by enjoying your free time away from the beaten track and discovering the secrets of local recommendations and hidden getaways.
Experience the Culture:
Learning a language isn’t just focussed on grammar and vocabulary either. You will also learn more about the local heritage and customs through your study which will help to reduce the culture shock you may otherwise experience.
Fascinating historical sites will be much more significant with the background knowledge and if haggling is part of the culture, why not experience it fully by bargaining in the local language?
Finally, perhaps the most vital reason of all - to travel safely! Having the ability to communicate effectively isn’t just reserved for emergencies, but will also help in making your day to day travels safer. For anyone with an allergy or dietary requirement, don’t rely on your waiter being able to speak English so take the time to learn these phrases yourself and make sure your requirements are understood. Other day to day phrases are also important to know in case you are ever lost, trying to go somewhere or need to get back to your hotel.
There won’t always be a guide with you to translate so take the time to learn something new, and give yourself the ability to travel confidently, independently and truly experience everything there is to offer for an unforgettable and inspiring experience.