Before going on your next vacation or business trip abroad, consider learning some of the language that is spoken where you”re going. You can get started learning easily and relatively inexpensively. Learning the local language can enhance your travelling experience, sometimes in ways you never thought of.
You can begin with just a few greetings and phrases, progress to a more “survival vocabulary” level, or if you really like, you can go ahead and spend months studying the language in-depth. In any case, if you find you like speaking and learning the language, you can always expand on what you”ve learned at first and further your study.
Why learn the language? For one thing, it is easier to deal with the local people if you speak even a little of their language. Don”t assume everyone speaks English. Numbers, greetings, directions and simple questions are not very hard to learn and are very useful. The locals will appreciate the effort on your part, and in fact, you may receive slightly better treatment than you would otherwise. In a perfect world that wouldn”t be true, but every little bit helps.
Improving communication with the locals is important. By learning some of the language, you reduce the possiblity of miscommunication. “Please”, “Thank You”, “How much is that?”, “Where is …” are all easy to learn and can go a long way toward friendly encounters. These phrases can be very handy for all the times you go to restaurants, buy something, take a taxi etc.
Travel is simply more fun when you speak the language. It”s all part of the adventure. Learning the country, the people and the culture will expand your possibilities. By learning another language you can increase your social contacts and travel opportunities. Work, study and even retirement abroad all become more possible.
So, how do you go about starting to learn a new language? There are lots of different sources you can use to get started.
First is online. There are endless websites that can help you start learning a particular language. offers free online words and phrases with audio that you can use to pick up the basics. is also an excellent
source with some more in-depth tutorials for many languages. You can also do a search on any search engine for “learn spanish” or “learning chinese” or any other language, and you will find many sites with free tutorials.
There are also loads of commercial products to help you learn a language, many designed for the traveller. There are books, tapes, cd”s, videos and software products. In some cases, there are combination packages that can be very comprehensive. The Pimsleur line of audio tapes and cd”s are ideal for a simple, pain-free introduction to a language. The Living Language line of book and tape combo”s are also relatively inexpensive and effective. RosetteStone, Teach Yourself, Transparent Language and many others provide products for whatever medium you are most comfortable with that can get you started learning a language.
Another possibility is a class or tutor. The personal interaction between people is what language is all about, so for many people, this is the best way to begin learning a foreign language. You can also go one step further and take a “learning vacation.” This is an immersion class or learning tour in the country you are going to.
Just about anywhere you go it will benefit you to learn the local language. Learning a language for travel will broaden your horizons and present you with a growing list of opportunities for your future. The bottom line is to enhance your travel and just have fun. Learning even a little of a new language will make travelling easier and more rewarding, with minimal risk on your part. You may even find it enjoyable enough to continue your study further. If you can improve your travelling experience, and add a valuable life-skill in the process, then why not do it?