13 Feb 4 Ways Learning a Foreign Language Will Change the Way You Travel
Most avid travelers are obsessed with foreign cultures. This fascination is what gets us moving and inspires us to travel hundreds (or thousands) of miles to a completely new place. But sometimes having an interest in a culture isn’t enough to give you the deep, meaningful experience you’re seeking. Culture and language go hand-in-hand, which means your interest in them should too. If you’re not convinced that learning a language is the best means to truly appreciate a foreign country, read on to discover 4 ways doing so will change the way you travel.
- It makes life easier
There’s nothing wrong with making life a little bit less complicated for yourself when you travel, and you don’t have to speak a language fluently in order to accomplish this! Learning basic conversation skills isn’t difficult—as long as you seek out strong language tutors through sites like Listen & Learn or iTalki—and will go a long way to helping you get around more easily, avoid getting cheated, and making new local friends. The rewards to learning the basics of a new language far outweigh the time and effort it takes to nail these down before you head overseas.
- It keeps you from looking like an uber-tourist
We’ve all seen them in action (and maybe have been them at one point ourselves): the tourists that insist on speaking English, no matter where they are, and get miffed when locals don’t respond. No one wants to come across as a cringe-worthy uber-tourist, and the best way to avoid this is by learning to speak some of that country’s language. Not only will you feel more like a traveler and less like a tourist when you do this, but you’re guaranteed to make a better impression on the locals by speaking to them in their mother tongue.
- It brings you closer to the culture
There are just some things about a culture that you won’t learn or appreciate unless you can speak the local language. There are many dimensions to learning a new language; when you do you also learn about the history, cuisine, and traditions of a country. You begin to understand why things are done a certain way, and people are more open to interacting with you and sharing their way of life with you if you speak to them in their own language. Knowing a foreign language also provides you with more opportunities to give back when you travel—something that every explorer should do when they’re venturing someplace new.
- It will make you more confident
There’s a certain amount of confidence required to be a world traveler, but learning, and using, a new language will increase your confidence even more! That first time you hold a conversation in Spanish, or German, or Mandarin, you’ll feel a huge burst of pride. Speaking even when you don’t have a fluent grasp of the language takes a lot of courage, and you’ll find that doing so will make you more outgoing and confident in your abilities as a traveler.
It’s not important that your language skills be perfect, but rather that you try. Speaking a foreign language will open a multitude of doors for you when you travel and, even better, will make the experience a lot more fun!