Traveling to another country can often be an unforgettable experience. New culture, foods, customs, and people – all create an atmosphere of adventure and allow you to learn more about the world we live in. However, what if there was another aspect still, which could make your escapade even more complete?
Languages are at the heart of any culture. The way people communicate and interact with each other is often influenced by the language they are speaking.
Learning a new language, or even the basics of it, before visiting a foreign country, will allow you not only to truly absorb its culture and better understand its customs but can in many cases also be extremely beneficial to you directly.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at 5 reasons why learning a language before your international escapades can be a great idea and ways in which being able to speak the country’s native language can be helpful.
Safety While in a Foreign Country
One of the main and most important reasons for learning a language before traveling to a foreign country is to ensure your safety while you’re there. Although not something anyone likes to think about, risky and dangerous situations can also happen to us while we’re on holiday. If you find yourself wandering through a large and very busy marketplace, for example, you may be so confused by the hustle and bustle, as well as the foreign language that you can’t make out, that you may become more vulnerable to thieves who may consider you an easy target and pickpocket you. But if you are able to read signs and understand at least some of the language being spoken, as well as remain confident in your demeanor, you can reduce the odds of someone viewing you as an easy victim.
If you find yourself in a hospital or doctor’s office, speaking their native language will allow you to better describe the problem, notify them about any medication you might be taking or even let them know about your allergies etc. which in many situations can be extremely important.
Be Able to Negotiate at Marketplaces
Speaking of walking through a busy marketplace, there are many great places to shop in other countries, and many vendors are willing to negotiate with you on a price that you can both agree on for a product which you would love to take home as a souvenir. By knowing the language, you will be able to talk to vendors and discuss pricing options as expertly as a native. Even if you only speak the basics of their language, the vendors would most likely offer you a discount just for your efforts.
Connect with Locals
When you’re able to speak someone’s native language, you can connect with them much easier, and this can certainly be a lot of fun when you are traveling and wanting to learn in more depth about the culture, history or even traditions by speaking with the locals. Another advantage of this could be the fact that they will appreciate you for making the effort to speak in their native language, and you will also feel really accomplished when you say something in another language and the person actually understands you.
By integrating with local people, you will also be able to find out about any hidden gems, restaurants, bars or activities which are usually missed by the tourists and only known by the residents.
In today’s globalizing world, a number of companies and business owners decide to expand internationally in order to reach to new, foreign markets. For many, this can only be accomplished with the help of an agency specializing in professional translation services. However, if you own your own business, knowing a language will help you to approach the potential customers or business partners much easier while you travel. With language comes the knowledge of culture and customs, therefore understanding how people react to certain stimuli might help you in approaching your chosen market.
Travel More Easily
Ultimately, being able to speak the language of the foreign country that you will be visiting will make travel a lot easier all around. For example, you will be able to communicate effectively with everyone from hotel managers, to wait staff at restaurants, taxi drivers, and customs agents. Be sure to know how to at least say common phrases, such as “I would like to…,” “Where is…,” and “How much is this,” as these are used in myriad environments and circumstances.
As you can see, there are plenty of great reasons to learn a new language before you travel, and with so many translation services, online programs, educational software, and courses that you can take at local schools, you can find a variety of ways to learn a new language with ease.
Learning a new language isn’t however only useful whilst you’re visiting another country. In fact, there are plenty of benefits you can gain from speaking a foreign language in your everyday life. We’ve written an article about this, and you can find it here.