Do you need to learn the local language before traveling to a new country?


The world would be a much simpler place if we all had one common language to communicate in. It might be easier, but it would also be more boring. Part of the charm of visiting places you’ve never been before is trying to make your way by only knowing a few words. The awkward conversations we find ourselves having with the locals can end up being some of the most memorable moments from our travels. Is learning the language necessary though? We’re looking at whether you should learn the lingo before you travel to a foreign land.

Don’t bother

There is this wonderful little invention that has helped make the world more accessible to everyone. That’s right, it’s the internet! Thanks to useful apps you can download to your phone, people who can only speak one language are still able to communicate with others who use a different tongue.

Apps like Google Translate mean you can type or speak what you want in your own language and the app will translate it for you. Then in response, you can input or listen to what the foreign person says and translate. It might take a little longer to communicate than normal, but at least you’ll be able to make your way around without any cases of miscommunication.

There is an added bonus that you can point your phone at any written text and it will translate it to and from any language you need!

Endear yourself

Trying to find your way around a foreign country can often be tough. The street signs are in a different language and the people in the streets aren’t speaking a word of sense. Your only hope is to flag down a local resident and pray they speak your language. The chances are most people know a little bit of English so they can at least give you some very primitive help.

Often if you try to communicate in their language first you’ll find them more helpful and responsive to you. Learning a few basic phrases can go a long way in the eyes of a foreign-speaking native, and it can save you hours of figuring things out on your own.

Become fluent

It would be impractical for you to become fluent in the language of every country you go to on vacation. However, if you find yourself falling in love with the country on your first visit, it might be worth learning the language in great detail. There is clearly something about the culture you enjoy, so why not find the next level of immersing yourself in the culture and learn the language? You can make local connections and find those all-important local hotspots that offer good value and authentic services.

There is no way you can fully learn a language before you visit a new country, unless you’ve been planning your trip for the past ten years. Thankfully technology can step in and help out, but learning a few phrases will always endear the locals to give you some help.