6 Reasons You Should Learn The Local Language Before Your Next Trip
By: Pinki Tue, 06 Apr 2021 2:54 PM
Learning local languages is an amazing idea, and right before your trip can be fruitful for you. Learning even just a few phrases allows you to communicate and experience travel in a different way. It adds depth and nuance to your trip, making it more memorable while also opening the door to new opportunities.
Here are 6 reasons you should learn the local language before your next trip.
# You’re Less Likely to Be Ripped Off
One of the easiest ways to ruin a trip is being stuck somewhere or needing help but feeling entirely helpless because you don’t speak the local language.
Then there are the moments when you know you’re being ripped off but don’t have a clue how to get yourself out of it. This is especially true with taxi drivers.
# It’s Easier to Make New Friends
Meeting new people and making friends is one of the biggest rewards of traveling. And it all starts with a simple greeting like Ciao!, Bonjour!, !Hola¡, Hej!, Konnichiwa!, or Ni Hao!
When getting to know someone new and making friends, we often ask each other the same sorts of questions, for example, “What’s your name?,” “Where are you from?,” and “What [work] do you do?.” etc. The answers you give form your biography, which you will repeat more than you think. So, when picking up any new language, I learn my biography first. This way I can confidently initiate conversations and respond to these common questions. Sometimes the scariest part is starting a conversation, but if you know your bio inside out, this becomes less of an issue.
# It’s the Right Thing to Do
The most important reason to learn the local language is that it’s polite. It doesn’t matter if you travel to the Netherlands or Norway, where people are known to speak excellent English — the thing to remember is that you’re a guest.
Think of it like you’re visiting a friend’s house. Do you wipe your shoes before entering or maybe even take them off? This sort of common decency comes naturally, without really thinking about it. But since we travel less often than we visit a friend’s home, it’s as if we forget how to be polite.
# People are Nicer to You
Making any sort of effort to speak the local language plays a big part in how people will treat you. Their whole demeanor will change if greeted in their native language. They may look pleasantly surprised or even compliment you.
You don’t need to be fluent either. Being “travel fluent” and just learning a few essential travel phrases goes a long way. More often than not, you’ll notice that people are more willing to go the extra mile for you because they see you’re trying to be respectful.
# You Get to Really Know a Place
Nelson Mandela famously said: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.”
I love this quote because it perfectly sums up the power of speaking to someone in their mother tongue. Languages are like bridges: they unite us. When you speak to people in their language, you’re able to go below the surface of a destination and have an authentic experience.
# It Could Change Your Life
With some of the local language under your belt, there’s no telling what sort of long-lasting effect it can have on you. It might inspire you to learn a particular language more seriously, motivate you to learn the local language before every trip you take, or even move somewhere!