Learning the Local Language
Traveling offers numerous wonderful opportunities to create interactions with locals and explore a different culture; with language being at the forefront of this communication. When planning an upcoming trip, there are many details that require attention, and one of the most crucial ones is the language of the country you are visiting – learning the local language.
Fluent speakers of the language of the country you’re visiting have a clearer advantage when it comes to establishing relationships with the locals, particularly if they are looking to engage in deep conversations with the residents.
1. The Benefits of Learning the Local Language When Traveling
One of the main values of learning the language of the country you’re visiting is in terms of safety. Being able to explain what you need or asking for help from locals in a difficult time can be critical if you end up in an emergency situation. A few words in the language of your destination can make a huge difference.
In addition to safety, learning the local language before visiting a place is a way to honor the place and its people. Learning a few phrases of the language is not only an appreciation of your hosts but also a way of showing respect for the local culture.
Another obvious benefit of learning the language of your destination country is in terms of convenience. With adequate knowledge of the language, you can easily understand how things work, including directions and maps. It also offers the chance to interact further with locals.
2. How to Learn the Local Language Before Visiting a Foreign Country
The best way to learn the language of a destination country is to undertake language classes, either online or with a local language school. Alternatively, there are other language-learning applications such as Duolingo and Rosetta Stone that allow you to learn the basics at your own pace.
If you prefer reading, books like Deutscher Wortschatz and A Basic Modern Dutchgrammar might be the better choice for you. In case you need to work on your speaking skills, you can always connect with a tutor from the country whose language you are learning.
Other alternatives for those who prefer a different approach can opt for language exchange or cultural activities which will expose them to different and informal conversations with locals.
3. The Power and Value of Learning the Local Language
Knowing the language of your destination opens the door for opportunities through which you can explore various aspects of the culture and practice making native friends.
With the language, you can dive deeper into understanding the history, culture and traditions of the country you are visiting, and access local media (news and television shows) to plug yourself further into the culture.
Being among locals and having a conversation – even a basic one – creates a personal connection that wouldn’t be possible without knowing the language. Establishing a connection with locals provides an opportunity to build trust, as they welcome and appreciate your willingness to learn their language and customs, and that you care enough to take the time to learn.
The power of learning the language of the country you are visiting lies in the fact that it goes beyond day-to-day communication, which is why the effort has to be made to understand it, practice, and converse in it.
4. The Transition from Being a Tourist to a Traveler
Learning a foreign language before you visit a foreign country is a powerful step toward upgrading your travel experiences. Simply having the language skills while traveling can make a huge difference in the way you experience the country and open the door to valuable information and relationships with locals.
Having the local language skills allows you to further understand the culture and gives you the heightened respect of locals. It enables you to submerge yourself in the culture, becoming a traveler as opposed to a tourist.
At the end of the day, spending the time to learn the language of the country you’re visiting is a crucial factor in making the most of your trip, allowing you to have a true adventure with the locals, find causes of the culture that you’re visiting, and establish meaningful relationships with the locals which will bring the culture alive for many events and activities to come.