Language struggles are very common among travelers.
Even if you have researched a lot about the new location, you may encounter many troubles along your way. Very often, these issues start with a simple misunderstanding and end up getting you in serious troubles.
If you are a person who travels a lot, you simply cannot know all languages and be able to communicate well with foreign speakers. After all, language learning is not a simple task on its own, and no one can speak all the languages in the world.
And while the English language is still official in the world, you will meet many people who do not speak it. In some countries, English is spoken so little, that the chances to find someone that can understand you are close to zero. Therefore, you must learn how to be understood, even if you do not have good foreign language skills.
How can you achieve this?
Here are several strategies that will help you learn a language faster and find your way around a new, foreign country.
Strategies for Learning a New Language Faster
Start with the Basics
Before you visit the country you have chosen to travel to, do some basic research. Look at this as your basic homework – learning the most basic phrases you will need once you set foot in the country.
If you don't have enough time to learn an entire beginner level of the language, or you travel in many countries, look into the most important words and phrases people use in the target country. There are many guides and small dictionaries that can help you out, and the great thing is that these are usually pocket-size.
'My job gives me the liberty to move around a lot, so I spend all the free time I have travelling around the world. This can be very difficult, especially when I visit those countries when you cannot find a single person who understands English. My advice in these cases is – always purchase a pocket language guide before going on a trip. They are affordable and may save your entire trip!' – says Chloe Kristen, a content writer at BestEssays.
Enroll in a Course
If you are staying in the new country for a longer period of time, you will need to have more advanced language skills. Learning the basics will prepare you for only a few days in the new location, just so you can find your way around the city or ask for directions. For the rest, you will need to take some language courses.
Fortunately, language courses are now very flexible. You can take fast courses and learn more within a shorter timeframe, or take an online course and pace yourself depending on your free time. It is all up to you.
Don't Be Afraid to Speak
People often feel intimidated when they have to speak in a foreign language, especially when they are talking to a native or fluent speaker. However, you should not let this drag you down. On the opposite, speaking to native speakers will help you master the language much faster than learning it on your own or in a classroom.
If you want to learn a language, don't be afraid to speak. People will understand that this is not your native language, and will help you detect your errors and fill up the voids.
After all, everyone loves travelers. They will all help you speak the target language!
Imitate Native Speakers
Don't be like a parrot that repeats everything being said to them! Listen to native speakers actively, and try repeating what they said in your response to their question.
Have you heard of active listening?
This is a very effective communication strategy used in counseling and training. As a traveler, you can really benefit from active learning. All you have to do is fully concentrate on what's being said, and respond to it in the same tonality. Active listening helps people imitate the same phrases and words, even if it is in a different context.
Do Not Try Too Hard
When travelling, you have the goal to visit new places and simply inhale the new culture. People rarely visit a country to master its language, and no traveler will ever spend the entire time struggling with the right words instead of actually enjoying the new country.
Therefore, stop trying so hard! You can continue learning the language once you go back home, and your main goal on the trip is to understand people and make yourself understood.
So, instead of torturing yourself with the vocabulary or the accent of native speakers, try to use correct words and be understood. You are a foreigner, so of course you will be speaking a simple language!
The experiences abroad depend greatly on the communication you will have with others. Even introverts need to communicate with people on their trips, which is why you must learn the basic language of every country you are visiting.
If you implement these simple strategies, this will not make your travelling less fun.