Learning a language may appear to be difficult or impossible at first, but mastering the fundamentals of learning a language might not only help you save money while travelling but it can also help you advance in your profession when you return.
- By learning the basics of a language you can get around more independently and confidently, this means that you do not need to rely on expensive tours or package deals which should help save money.
- You can shop at local markets for food and gifts rather than buying everything at tourist shops which will also help support the locals in their community but also likely give you much better value for your money.
- Locals are appreciative of any foreign visitors that attempt to learn their language, so if you can communicate in their native language, they will be more inclined to give real advice and assistance. From being invited to a family’s home (for a free meal) as a result of your new friendship built purely because you attempted/learned the language.
- Haggling becomes a lot easier if you know what you’re looking for, have a realistic idea about how much things go for and can charm the locals with your language skills. A good way of testing this is by visiting a store, haggling in English and seeing if you can get a discount. Visit another nearby store that sells the same item but this time talk in the local tongue and discover the final cost difference.
- Local-language versions of the travel websites often offer significantly lower airfare, bus and train fares than the English language website. For example, if you were to buy inter-city flights within a South American country using a local airline, you may save money by purchasing those tickets on the Spanish language site. Of course, you could argue Google Translate will do a similar job of saving you the money and you would be right.
- Speaking the local language makes others around you friendlier and more approachable and vice versa. They could reveal insider/local information to you that they wouldn’t otherwise share or warn you of common scams / tourist rip off locations.
- Speaking with locals will lead to better (& often cheaper) restaurant recommendations and learning how to order food in a restaurant will often be reciprocated with improved service, a more pleasurable experience, the odd freebie or even a locals discount.
- You will be able to understand local customs and traditions better; this is important because it helps you avoid accidentally offending someone or coming across as rude.
- If you learn the language, locals are more likely to talk with you about their heritage/history which makes for a more engaging conversation than if they were speaking in English.
- If you want to stay longer than a typical holiday (for example, several weeks or months), foreign languages can also lead to part-time employment possibilities and those who speak the local language will have astronomically more networking options in any particular city; this is due to the fact that many businesses search for staff with English and local language skills.
What are the best tips for learning a new language?
A lot of people feel that they cannot learn languages because they did not succeed at school when trying to excel in their own native tongue but there are some very useful tools out there to help you learn a language, ranging from apps to one-on-one tuition.
The biggest issue for adults in learning a language rapidly is often time management, whether you are a uni student or a working adult. Block out the time. Make a commitment, and stick to it.
There are over 300 words in the English language that account for more than half of all written text. Other languages follow suit. The first step is to learn these basics.
There are many free resources out there that can help you, ranging from online courses to mobile applications. Some examples of these include: Duolingo; Babble or YouTube.
Does it really work?
Watch these interactions with Xiaomanyc and when he speaks a local language.