English speakers are often able to overcome criticisms from others and claim that they can travel well enough in their native language when visiting foreign countries.
Is it possible to get by without much?
It is a great idea to learn a language before you travel to another country. You will face a lot of questions, signs, choices, and challenges as an English-speaking traveller in foreign countries. It’s a sign that your trip won’t reach its full potential if you can’t understand anything. This is a huge benefit to learning a language. A majority of foreigners can help a tourist in need. It can be done with a series or grunting grunts, or more cheerfully and helpfully. An invisible divide is created when you approach them in English and not their native language.
Nelson Mandela Perhaps the best way to describe this divide is when he said:
You should show that you care about the culture in which you live. The culture will reciprocate. This is the greatest benefit of learning a language prior to travelling.
Here are some benefits to learning a language other than English
A passport for learning native languages is 1000 times more exciting and liberating that the one you got stamped at the airport. New opportunities are possible when you have a basic knowledge of a foreign language. Sometimes, this can occur even before the trip begins.
You can communicate in the language of the local community and get in touch with the right person at right time.
If you are able to speak Spanish well and plan on traveling to Spain, it is worth considering staying with a host family. This is often more rewarding than staying in touristy accommodation. This saves you money on hotel fees and puts you in the center of this culture.
Learning a foreign language has many cultural benefits
Travellers who are not native-speakers tend to be hesitant about asking questions or getting involved in general situations. The non-native-speaking traveler may choose to eat at the nearest McDonald’s rather than finding out if the street food is delicious. The English-speaking traveler who doesn’t speak the language of the country will only be able to experience a small fraction of its true culture. Even fluent multilinguals will continue to learn new nuances, phrases and colloquialisms every day. Think about how many times you have read a newspaper in your native language and been asked to translate a word. This is the best way for speeding up language learning. The difference between the two is that a bilingual living abroad is not just ‘getting by’. They can explore and swim in foreign cultures, picking up new wisdom, instead of frantically treading water trying to stay alive. Learning a language abroad is a great way to immerse yourself in the culture and not just visit. Multilingualism has many benefits that go beyond obvious. The New York Times published earlier this year a report that showed bilinguals have a greater awareness of the environment than monolinguals.
Albert Costa, a Spanish researcher at the University of Pompeu Fabra, explains:
This increased awareness of the surroundings is exactly what a traveler gains when confronted with a foreign environment.
Safety is another benefit to learning a foreign language while traveling.
A better awareness of the environment means a greater chance of staying safe within it. Tourists who wander through busy markets, dazzled and confused by foreign accents, language and signs, will be more likely to pickpockets. The tourist who is confidently walking from stall-to-stall, looking for signs and referring to prices, will be more likely to avoid potential robbery. Living a normal life is one thing. Going on a vacation abroad is another. A basic lack of English language skills can be overcome by the use of online resources and guidebooks. If we follow the advice given by Nelson Mandela, our trips to foreign countries will remain in our minds and hearts forever.
It is not worth learning a foreign language to travel.
You should experience the destination as a local and not as a tourist.
Learning the native language is the best way to overcome language barriers when traveling. Even if you only know a few phrases, it will help you to communicate with others. Native speakers will be able go to places only locals can visit. You won’t have to limit yourself to traditional touristy places with English signs and menus. Learn more than just the greetings and thank yous in the native language of the country you are visiting. It can mean the difference between getting lost in circles and finding the best transportation route in a new place. You’ll feel like a local once you learn a few phrases.
You will have more authentic cultural experiences if you get to know locals.
You might be asked to attend a religious festival. You might be invited to watch a match at the local bar if you find one. You’ll understand the context of any political debate.