When traveling somewhere, I believe it is a basic requirement, let alone courtesy, to attempt to learn at least a little bit of the local language. ‘Please’, ‘thank you’, ‘where is?’, ‘how much?’ and ‘hi, pleased to meet you’ are the common starting points. The importance of making the effort to learn phrases such as these cannot be stressed enough. Don’t you love it, regardless of the grammatical errors and heavy accent, when someone makes the attempt to strike up a conversation when you know full well this is not their primary language? You don’t feel embarrassed for them, you go out of your way to make sure you understand what they are saying and give them any help they need.
It can feel very embarrassing trying to speak in another language for fear of making errors and not being understood. Remember when other’s tried with you. It’s not that bad right? Take the time write some phrases down and try them out on the locals. The results are as hilarious as they are helpful. Careful, you might even make friends.
I started using Duolingo a couple of years ago to improve my French (let’s say start from the absolute beginning). It is an amazing, portable tool that has the potential to open so many more doors than you ever thought possible. It’s currently still a free tool, with the option to contribute to help support the continued development of the site.
Sign up and see where this takes you.