Before you travel – Learn a little of the language

There is nothing more exciting than visiting a country where the culture is unfamiliar and they speak a different language. Exciting as this is, it can also be a little daunting when you land in a country where you don’t speak the language.  In fact, not knowing the basics of the language of the country you are visiting can make your travels a lot more difficult.  Things you take for granted at home, like being able to read signs in train stations and airports, to knowing what food you are buying, can be quite the challenge in a foreign tongue. Don’t be surprised if people can’t speak English at all in some places.  Not only that, it’s just plain polite to address people in their own language. Learning the basics of any language before you go, not only makes your journey easier, but it helps you in many ways including:

  1. Helping you navigate customs and immigration,
  2. Making new friends,
  3. Being able to fit in to the local environment,
  4. Finding your train or plane,
  5. Ordering your food,
  6. Shopping,
  7. Being able to talk to a doctor or pharmacist, if you fall sick on your trip, and
  8. Asking for directions if you get lost.

Even if you only know a little of the local language, you will find you are welcomed wherever you go.  Don’t worry if you get the words or pronunciation slightly wrong, the locals will laugh with you and help you out with the correct usage.


On one of my trips to France, I was laid up with a nasty flu.  It’s not nice having the flu at home, but being sick in a foreign country can be the loneliest feeling in the world. Knowing the language, I was able to easily get assistance from the local chemist, who was so kind to me, that I knew that I really wasn’t alone in the world.

Get Started

Learning a new language can be very tricky, but it’s a great way to keep your brain active and challenged. How to go about this depends on your individual learning style.  You may like to learn as part of a groups, or by reading, or by listening.  There are a number of resources available to you that will help you get started:

  1. Local MeetUp groups,
  2. Language tutors,
  3. Community colleges and Adult learning groups in your local community,
  4. Online courses,
  5. Books and CDs,
  6. Podcasts,
  7. Phone or tablet Apps.

If you find yourself stuck you can always use Google Translate.

Welcome in different places

The 10 most spoken languages around the world.

Here are the 10 most commonly spoken languages around the world:

  1. Mandarin Chinese
  2. Spanish
  3. English
  4. Hindi
  5. Arabic
  6. Portuguese
  7. Bengali
  8. Russian
  9. Japanese
  10. Punjabi/Lahnda

When you learn a little of the language spoken in the country you are going to, you will find knowing at least the basics will be rewarding and enrich your experience. Don’t worry if you can only master the basics like please, thank you, hello and goodbye, people will appreciate the effort you have made. Why don’t you give it a try!

Happy Travels!


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