(^Statue of Kalman in Budapest – English and German description provided on tab)
Read in German
Travelling to another country is something that is probably ever-present in people’s bucket lists. After all, there is nothing more surreal than exploring a place that’s foreign to you and immersing yourself in its culture and traditions. Everything does seem dreamlike, that is, until language barrier decides to step in and spoil the fun.
Language Barrier, a problem?
Of course, this wouldn’t be a problem for you if you come from an interracial family and are well versed with a language other than English or your mother tongue. Nevertheless, not all of us are as fortunate. At the same time, not everyone was able to learn some Spanish, a spattering of French, and some other foreign language back in high school. So will you allow this problem to stop you from enjoying your trip? Certainly not! What should you do, then?
Whether your trip is for business or pleasure, it pays to learn the language spoken at the place where you’re going, and you can learn languages without cramming. You don’t have to be an expert linguist; learning just a couple of important words would be enough. You would be surprised how much better your traveling experience would be if you know how to speak even just a few words from the local language. It can actually enhance your experience in ways you never deemed possible.
Old dogs and new tricks
Some say, “You can’t teach old dogs new tricks”, and that may be true in this case. You can’t expect to master the language, say French, in a matter of days. Hence, a good start would be learning how to speak a few greetings, numbers, directions, simple questions, and phrases such as “How are you doing,” “What’s your name,” “Please,” “Thank you,” “How much is that,” “Where is (so and so place),” and “Nice to meet you,” among others. You would find these simple phrases very handy when you take a cab, eat in a restaurant, or go shopping.
Once you’ve got that right down pat, you could progress to a more (somewhat) complex level that would help you “survive” in that place vocabulary-wise. Of course, if you have plenty of time to prepare for the trip, then you can go ahead and have an in-depth study of the language by attending a class or hiring a private tutor.
Learning the language spoken at a certain country makes it easier for you to deal and interact with locals. Inasmuch as English is considered a universal language, you should never assume that everyone in that place speaks English. Some tourists complain that locals don’t treat them all too well, but maybe the language barrier has a lot to do with it. Therefore, if you want a slightly better treatment from locals, you had better learn even just a bit of their language. Believe me; your efforts won’t go unappreciated.
Learning at Home
You can actually learn the basics of a language from the comfort of your own home. The Internet offers many different sources to get you started. Some websites doesn’t only teach words and phrases but these also let you listen to audio recordings so you’ll know the proper pronunciation of the words. This is a good way to pick up the basics of a foreign language.
Try to go to the mall and look for a bookstore or any specialty store that sells books, CDs, DVDs, videos, tapes, and even software designed to teach a new language. Some even offer comprehensive combination packages that would make the experience worth your while.
It may seem bothersome, but learning a foreign language offers countless benefits. What’s more, it can broaden your horizons, and perhaps, open up a growing list of opportunities for the future. So topple down that language barrier, learn a new language, and expose yourself to a world of self-improvement and self-fulfillment.