Traveling to a new country can be challenging, especially when you can’t speak the local language.
Not being able to understand a word local people are saying can make you lock yourself up and feel isolated because of the inability to communicate with them.
As frustrating as this feeling may be, you shouldn’t miss out on the beautiful moments you will have the opportunity to experience just because of that. There is actually a way to make the most of your traveling experiences: learning the local language. Here’s why.
You get to meet new people
Language can be a barrier when trying to make new friends. However, crossing it allows to create closer friendships with people. Language means interaction and interacting with local people when travelling to a country is what makes the experience even greater. You get to have a local perspective and a more accurate point of view on the culture, the local customs and the way people live. Getting to know people from another country with a different background is one of the most priceless and enriching experiences. Language should therefore not stop you from taking advantage of this kind of opportunities, as being able to communicate with locals and building relationships with them creates memories no one can ever take away from you.
Learn more about the culture
It’s always easier to get a more accurate representation of a culture when you can understand the language it comes with. Often, expressions and idioms are linked to cultural context, historical background or cultural habits. Learning about how people speak and express themselves can help you have a deeper insight at their customs and way of life. Beyond just seeing a country, learning about its culture is what makes such a difference between visiting it and actually getting to know it. You get a more local experience, you get to see a whole different side of the country instead of just doing tourist activities, which makes the experience more valuable. You will get to explore and discover more, go to places you would never have gone to as a tourist, and meet people you would never have met otherwise.
A complete immersion in the culture will also help you improve your linguistic skills faster and more efficiently. You will eventually even be able to understand music and films, which are always better when in their original versions and are a fun way to learn a language. They are also a big part of a country’s culture. The language helps you learn about the culture, and the culture helps you learn about the language. It’s a positive loop.
It will help you survive any situation
Learning the basics of a language can be very helpful in certain situations. There are certain places and situations where you will be forced to use the local language, since not everyone in the world speaks English. Being able to read signs, ask your way or order food at the restaurant will make travelling so much easier. You will be able to bargain with merchants and avoid being scammed because you look like a tourist. It can also help you deal with emergencies.
Knowing at least a few important words can therefore be very useful.
You get to practice the language
Being immersed in another cultural environment and being forced to speak a new language everyday is what will make you truly improve your linguistic skills. Stepping out of your comfort zone and having to use the local language is a great opportunity to improve in it, so why miss it?
The most efficient way to learn how to do something is to actually do it. It’s okay not to be fluent, to make mistakes and to be afraid to speak out loud and sound silly. However, being surrounded by local people and challenging yourself to use the language is what will give you confidence in yourself.
Eventually, you will be faced with much less awkward moments feeling stupid and smiling at people because you haven’t understood a word they said. You will speak with much more confidence and even use local expressions. Being in the country is therefore much more efficient in terms of language improvements as online learning or classes. You should take advantage of that.
Speaking more than one language is an asset
Being multilingual can be very beneficial to you both personally and professionally. People who can speak several languages tend to have more career opportunities, as this makes a major difference on someone’s CV. On a more personal level, it can help you be more aware of different parts of the world, be more open-minded and acquire knowledge and experiences that will forge your spirit.
By getting to know different languages and cultures, you can take the best of each one of them and create your own way of life based on all the diverse customs you have seen.
Moreover, learning a new language can be hard but it makes it easier to learn new ones afterwards.
It improves your memory and can, in some ways, make you more intelligent.