As per a recent survey, nearly two-thirds of the British holidaymakers are too embarrassed to use foreign words while travelling abroad. The reason cited for this behaviour is the knowledge of foreign words limited to ‘hello’, ‘yes’, ‘goodbye’, ‘thanks’ as well as ‘my name is…’. For the nation that travels a lot, it is quite startling that the British are letting go of a chance of a meaningful interaction with locals because of the language barrier.
If you too face the same problem while travelling abroad, you will find the ways mentioned below useful to overcome the hesitation that accompanies an interaction with a local in a foreign country:
Use a Language App
This is one of the easiest ways to make sure you are not at a loss of words while communicating with locals. Plenty of language apps are available for download for free, and can be handy tools for learning on-the-go. Duolingo, HelloTalk and Midsnacks are some of the most commonly used apps which offer lessons, conduct grading and assessment tests so that you can keep a track of your development over a period of time. Some of these apps, including Duolingo, offer language assistance in more than 30 languages. These apps let you decide the level you want to start at, and also send motivating reminders in case you skip your lessons.
Take a Language Dictionary on Your Travels
This is one of the more conventional ways to learn a new language; nonetheless very useful. Language dictionaries have an edge over mobile apps in the manner that they are more elaborate, and cover the nuances that might have been overlooked by the app. Moreover, they can be used in addition to the app to recall the lessons leant while you are out and about. Using a dictionary is ideal for people who are not very technology-friendly as also for those who love learning from a physical book instead of a virtual learning material.
Use Stationary to Enhance Learning
What will you do if you are in a situation where the internet connectivity (on which the language apps rely) is poor or non-existent, and you don’t have your dictionary handy? Well, you will find rescue in your language stationary which, simply put, is a small diary or ‘post it’ with all basic words that you think you would need to communicate if you are lost in a foreign land. You can include basic greetings, local words for taxi, ATM, your hotel address or the address/phone number of the tourism office in the area you are staying. Be mindful, however, to make it an inseparable part of you ‘carry-ons’ while you are journeying abroad.
Enroll at a Language School Overseas
This has many advantages. First, when you learn a language with the help of a native speaker, you are more likely to have a better understanding on cultural, historical and social contexts in which certain words are used. Secondly, you are more likely to save a few pounds learning a language in the country of its origin than in your local country where it is a foreign language. Learning a language overseas will also help you to connect to the place of your travel in a more consuming fashion.
Reach, Teach and Learn
Basically a mutual exchange, learning a language from a local, and teaching them your own is one of the best things you can do while you are travelling. Apart from making lifelong friends, this kind of exchange can help you learn a language in the most practical way as the locals will teach you phrases and words that you will most need for your everyday interaction at the place of your visit. Locals will also have a better idea about the set of skills in their language that you will need to explore their country. By teaching them your own language, you might be able to save the money that you would have otherwise spent on a professional class.