3 Reasons Why It Makes Sense to Speak the Local Language
Plenty of people dream of traveling abroad, and many of us get to fulfill that wish during a semester of travel in college. Others decide to check off an item on their bucket list and take some time off of work to visit a far off place that we have always wanted to visit.
Before any overseas travel, proper preparation will make the trip more enjoyable and ensure that you have plenty of positive memorable stories to tell when you get home. Besides making sure you have all the clothes and travel essentials you need, one key travel preparation that should be at the top of your list is learning the local language. Don't think that you should spend the time to learn the language of your host country? Here are 3 reasons why you are wrong.
Cultivates and Enriches Your Experience
Sure, you can't learn a new language overnight. Fully grasping and speaking a foreign language fluently take years, but if you plan ahead for your trip you will have plenty of time to build a foundation to enrich your visit. By learning the key words and phrases, you will ensure that you get the full immersive experience and enjoyment out of your trip abroad.
How cool would it be to surprise the barista at a local coffee shop by ordering in the local language? unlike most other tourists who expect the locals to cater to them. Visiting a night club hoping to meet the love of your life will be a lot easier if you can say hello and carry on casual conversation.
How about needing to fill out paperwork or permits for the mountain climb that is a life defining moment you are finally making a reality? Most countries are not like the United States where forms are available in 387 languages and dialects. Foreign travelers are expected to make the effort to communicate - and it would suck to overlook a law or regulation because you didn't plan ahead. Get the most out of your trip to a foreign land by making the effort to communicate.
How the hell can you know where your going if you can't read the road signs? This might seem unimportant, but if you plan an extended stay and plan to rent a car this will be vitally important. Even if you don't plan to drive anywhere, being able to read signs could save you from a jaywalking ticket or even an arrest if you were to trespass on private property.
How about knowing where a police station is located should you need help? Medical emergency? You need to be able to ask for help and possibly alert the doctor or nurse of any allergies or conditions. Expecting medical personnel to seek out someone who speaks your language isn't only an unfair imposition - it could waste precious time necessary to save your life.
It's a Sign of Respect
Common sense says that it is pretty rude to go to a foreign country and then expect the locals to adapt to you. Show some respect and at least try to communicate in the language of the country you are visiting. Chances are, the locals will appreciate your effort and if they speak your native tongue - reciprocate by speaking in your more comfortable language.
In short, making an attempt to speak the local language is simply the right thing to do.