Traveling around the world’s probably made its appearance already on almost everyone’s bucket list. Taking in new sights, exploring new tastes, immersing yourself in diverse cultures – all of those are just an adventure in the making. But of course, to do that you need to consider the reality of going to another country, and especially learning the basis of a new language.
Looking at posts over what you can do in places like Barcelona or something in the same vein would hinder you from looking at the big picture. The big picture is how lack of preparation could ruin your overseas trip. And one of the most necessary, yet easily overlooked, practices many tourists should do is learn the local language. Below are three simple tips to do so.
1. Start Simple
The best way to start anything new is by easing yourself into it. In this case, you do this by reading through local references containing simple phrases. Typically, you’ll find this kind of language in children’s books, so get your hands on one on the way to your destination. Make sure it has the local language and its translation there, too.
While you grasp that, make sure to learn the basics of talking to people. This can be a simple greeting as a show of politeness or asking for directions. These simple phrases can be read through guides online, but consulting professionals would be ideal for more information.
Not only that, but with the help of the internet, you can download language learning apps that have both beginner and proficient levels of learning. So, instead of taking a nap during your travels, you can use the time to learn using these.
2. Be Familiar
Although you could say you’re familiar with what you’ve read, learning to speak the language is an entirely new beast. After all, you only processed this information using your eyes and brain. There’s no speaking involved when you only memorize how one word is spelled.
So, before you touch down to your destination, watch videos of the locals speaking. With your knowledge of their written language in mind, you can follow along with what they’re saying. As you’re doing that, note how they enunciate their words. How do they say a certain word you find difficult without compromising the entire sentence?
Adding onto that, some people aren’t as well-versed in learning through reading alone. Using their ear to listen and see their reference in action will play a significant role. Since you’re familiar with how you soak in information, stick with where you’re comfortable to quicken your learning.
3. Immerse Yourself
As mentioned earlier, people process new information differently. While some are comfortable reading references alone, there are just as many who learn better by watching people. However, being in the environment itself can truly prove everything you learned.
Here, you’re thrown into an entirely new world as everything’s too different from what you’re used to. If you come in unprepared, this is where you’ll be receiving the fullest brunt of culture shock. But since you have the basics nailed down, you won’t feel too much like a fish out of water.
Be that as it may, regardless of how familiar you are with basic phrases, you can’t survive in a place using your reading skills and understanding alone. Because even though you could read signs or the names of dishes out of a menu, you still need to ask about the details. Are there any shortcuts from Point A to Point B? What ingredients are used in these dishes?
In the end, you have no choice but to interact with people to get by soundly. Although this sounds like a daunting task, you need to get out there and put what you’ve learned into practice. While your inexperience might be obvious to the natives, they’ll acknowledge your familiarity with their language.
Furthermore, talking to these people up close can help you pinpoint certain social cues your foreign language guide neglected to point out. By surrounding yourself with the locals, you could take note of the way they speak in natural settings. One of those factors is intonation, which helps deliver your entire message. Therefore, neglecting to learn about it serves as a communication error on your part. After all, if you greet a native with an awkward tone, they might be confused and gather mixed signals from you.
Traveling to different places is one of the best ways to unwind and soak in the sights. However, some tourists come home more embittered than ever because their trip was a bust. And one of those reasons is that they neglected to learn the native language before setting out on their trip. So, to avoid that, learn as much as you can about it.