Travel Made EASY…Speaking Tips
Travel can be many things: fun, relaxing, adventurous, exciting, educational, insightful, memorable, and scary. Which one, or combination, of these is largely up to you and the unforeseen. The world is full of wonders to see and so little time to see them in, and if you decide you want to see them all? Well, I’m rather impressed and wish you all the best, but even if you choose only a few, the chances are that there’s a country on your list where a foreign language poses a minor inconvenience to you.
There is a sense of fear yet excitement in going traveling somewhere where you know you’ll have difficulty communicating — the awkward conversations and odd expressions you’ll receive can leave quite an impression. Of course you will need to be able to take the good with the bad: going to the pub and trying to talk to a girl using facial gestures and hand movements can be humorous for you both, but taking the wrong bus to the wrong city and getting lost, well, not always a fun trip. So if you’re the adventurous type and plan on going to one of these wonderful, mystical enchanting places to experience a new culture and way of life, but are stuck without an understanding of the language; there are a few things you should do to stock up on the good experiences and limit the bad.
To state the obvious, learning a little of the language will go a long way. Take some time to learn the basics, the “I wants” and the “I needs,” “hellos” and “goodbyes,” “one beer please” is essential, “Stop! Police!” “Where’s the zoo?” “please get me out of here, I need to go home!” There are also plenty of small phrase books from the likes of Lonely Planet that can be a life saver and are usually inexpensive.
Another option is to find a travel buddy that knows some of the language; you could go to a country where you know someone or you might find someone in your hostel or another popular tourist place that’s going in the same direction as you. Even if somebody can’t speak the language it can be easier having another person there just to lessen the strain, to share some of the embarrassment with, and even out some of the blame in the unfortunate event you do something the locals frown upon.
Then there’s planning: some dislike it, others despise it, but whatever category you fall into, planning can pay big dividends. I’m not saying you need a strict schedule — after all plans change frequently and having flexibility makes the trip far less stressful; but doing some research into the things that interest you; the places you want to see; finding a map and locating accommodation, can all make a trip simpler and a foreign language that little bit easier to speak.
Otherwise just you try taking a taxi without being able to tell him your destination, sitting there yelling: “To the airport please…no, the airport…aeropuerto? Planes, flying planes! Whoosh! Look I don’t know what a Flughafen is!” Taking a little time to have the names and directions written down can save you from these troublesome woes.
Of course there are numerous other ways to make the trip more pleasant, but there’s always going to be tough situations too. Can you think of anything else one can do to help get by with a foreign language?