While you don’t need to be fluent in the languages of countries you visit, you should have at least a basic understanding of common words and phrases. Your library should have plenty of books and audio or video courses that will help you comprehend simple language rules, and you can also purchase materials online. There are several reasons that we recommend you learn as much of the language as you can before your visit and continue to focus on discovering more as you travel.
Speaking your hosts’ language is the polite thing to do.
When you visit a country and attempt to speak the language, people will bend over backward to help you and will admire you for trying. You’ll learn more about a language in 20 minutes with a native speaker than you would in several hours of trying to learn it yourself.
If they came to your country and tried to speak your language, you would help them and appreciate the effort, and they feel the same about those who attempt their language. Remember, as a traveler in their country, you represent your own country, and you’ll want to make a good impression.
Basic language skills boost your confidence.
Traveling to a foreign country for the first time is tremendously exciting, but it can be a little intimidating also. If you have a basic grasp of the language, you’ll feel more confident in your travel experience, especially in approaching others and asking for what you need. As you learn the language, you’ll discover the culture and know what to expect when you arrive. You’ll also know when something isn’t right and you need to ask questions or find someone to help you, which will help you stay safe.
You never know when you’ll need to speak with someone who doesn’t know English.
While many countries of the world have English speakers, others do not, or you may visit villages or towns with few people who speak English. If you have a fundamental grasp of their language, you can make yourself understood and communicate at a basic level.
You’ll feel more comfortable and enjoy yourself more if you understand what others are saying.
Language is a significant part of every country’s culture, and if you can participate by reading, speaking, or writing the language, you’ll immerse yourself more fully into the experience and enjoy yourself on a deeper level than you could if you didn’t attempt the language.
It’s just plain fun.
As anyone who has studied a foreign language will tell you, learning about new cultures and people is fun and incredibly interesting. Even while you’re not traveling, you’re broadening your horizons by learning a new language. You may be surprised at how much you learn about your own language while learning a new one.
Which language would you like to learn?
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