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Learning languages for travel

John Brok 

Languages are an important aspect of travel. There is no longer a good argument for believing you don’t need to learn any of a language simply because you think everyone should know yours. With the world getting smaller and families becoming a mixture of cultures and nationalities as well as travelling being easier and more accessible, now is the time to be open to learning a language.

I’ve always known the value of learning and using foreign languages in addition to integrating myself into local communities and cultures. In fact being able to greet others in their own language has certainly presented opportunities to me and allowed me to build friendships on my travels.  

Before travelling to a country make sure you have learnt certain words in that language such as : hello, goodbye, please and thank you. This is the basic requirement to interact and show you have made some effort in accepting their culture and are open to learning more rather than simply bringing your own culture with you. 

There is so much culture tied up with a language and in learning one you learn the other. It is important to know the etiquette in greeting people: do you shake hands, hug, one kiss or two, how do men interact together? women, men and women? what is acceptable and what is completely unacceptable.   


The best way to learn a language is to practise it as much as possible and with locals to make sure you have learnt it correctly including the pronunciation and intonation. Make friends with local people and tell them to speak their language with you as much as possible, to teach new language with gestures and to correct any mistakes you make. Being completely immersed in the language will mean you will learn it quickly and effectively so you also need to speak it as much as possible and allow yourself to make mistakes and learn from them. 

So next time you plan a trip even if it is just for 2 weeks make sure you leave sometime in your preparation to learn a few keywords of the language  as it will certainly enhance your experience. 

Let us know about your language experience below:

#culture #languages #openness #respect

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