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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Overcoming a Language Barrier during Travel

Hey you!
Do you have your sights set on an upcoming adventure? Does this adventure happen to be to another country that doesn't speak your native language? Do you not speak their native language? Don't fret, I'm here for you, and I'm going to tell you how to overcome that language barrier and make for a smooth travelling experience.
Let's dive in.

For starters, familiarize yourself with some basic words. These should include greetings, food (beer and wine are a must to know), and simple questions words. Getting a dictionary that phonetically spells out your words is always a good idea, as well as researching the pronunciation on YouTube, Podcasts (Coffee Break French is my go-to), films, etc.

Another great option is taking a course. Many universities and language centers offer a course specifically for travelers running six or so weeks right up until you leave. This a great way to start training your brain, and you'll be surprised how much you can recognize just after seeing the vocabulary only a few times. Those wanting to know French, I highly recommend Alliance Fran├žaise!

Alright, you're on foreign soil, you have the basics memorized, and pronunciation down pat, now what? Shouting is a tad aggressive. Try speaking slower, not louder, keeping your composure, and being extra polite. A smile can go a long way, oh, and you're travelling so that alone is reason enough to smile. Also, learning how to say "do you speak English?", in their language is a great jumping off point.


If you have some foreign language words in your back pocket, whip them out! You're going to get it wrong, you'll say the wrong thing, conjugate it all backwards, and be given a confused look at least once; it's inevitable. Be confident in the knowledge that you do know, and don't be afraid to put yourself out there.

If you're hanging out with some locals, ask that they help you by correcting you. Language is far from easy, so don't take it personally if when you mess up.

Not speaking the language can feel a bit lonely at times, but it also can allow you to expand your knowledge, and free up your mind a bit. You've got this, and if you're ever struggling pretend that I'm right there alongside you, giving you a little spank of encouragement.

Bon Voyage!
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