The world is recovering gradually from the depths of COVID-19, and travel is finally back on the table. After two years of witnessing lockdowns and closed borders, most want to undertake international travel more than anything else. Often, the top considerations for people visiting a foreign country include money, the destination itself, the travel itinerary, the season, etc. Driven by the excitement to bust out and explore, we often lose sight of the necessity of learning a new language when it comes to travel. After reading this article, you’ll clearly understand the importance of learning languages while traveling. Allons-y (French phrase for ‘Let’s Go)
We travel to embrace adventures, meet new people, learn new cultures, and leave with a suitcase of life-long happy memories. In our journey to create a once-in-a-lifetime experience to cherish forever, we can end with worst memories if we don’t understand or speak (even a little of) the local language of the destination country, from simply asking locals where the bus stand to immersing yourself in the new culture and history, learning a new language or common phrases is important.
Acquiring knowledge of a foreign language is crucial for
- Social reasons (you can speak to local people, take the way they express their culture and commonality, create cultural ties and a sense of community)
- Safety reasons (Unforeseen situations such as getting lost or feeling sick can be stressful when you are overseas, so knowing a little bit of foreign language can help you face hardships indisputably.
We’ve listed the top 8 importance of learning new languages and phrases while traveling. Once knowing all these, you won’t risk stepping foot on another’s land without learning some basic vocabulary in a foreign language. Without further ado, let’s discuss these top 8 benefits (importance) in detail.
1. Enrich your travel experience
The foremost reason for learning a new language is to enrich your travel experience. Language is the primary part of human connection, and speaking with locals in their language boosts your confidence to travel and makes you more than just a tourist. Whether for ordering a coffee in a local café or reading a sign, learning the local language makes getting around places easier and worthwhile. You can make the most of your trip- communicating with locals, getting an in-depth understanding of their culture, making new friendships, preventing culture shock, and getting yourself out of trouble easily–which automatically enriches your travel experience.
2. Build a new connection
Language is a powerful tool for building new connections with people from opposite backgrounds. The purpose of traveling lies more in getting to meet new people and form a new bonding than just seeing the place. Local people are more likely to open up and become more welcoming when addressing them in their language. On the other hand, you can better express your thoughts and feelings, lowering your stress and frustration concerning newness.
3. A key to understanding new culture better
Language forms a key part of cultural identity and reflects the history and culture of any country. Learning a different language is the key to unlocking the cultural door, understanding elements of another nation’s culture and history, and building respect and empathy for local people. Since it helps to communicate aspects of other’s cultures, you will truly experience the local culture, develop cultural awareness, and celebrate cultural differences and similarities.
4. Become more tolerant and open-minded
Communication via language exposes you to a different culture, which helps you embrace and appreciate the diversity of people and become more tolerant and open-minded. On the one hand, locals will appreciate your effort in learning their language and culture. On the other side, speaking a foreign language to you while traveling will open you up to a whole new world of experiences and help you work out your biases about your cultural background. A deeper level of communication minimizes stereotypes and ethnic and racial divisions and makes the world a better place to live.
Also Read: 4 Things You Can Get From Studying Abroad
5. Increase safety
No matter how much you try to stay out of trouble, unforeseen circumstances can always occur out of nowhere. Losing the track, falling sick, or getting robbed by thieves are a few common examples. Even in these unfortunate situations, understanding the language of the country you are in can help you face hardships easily. Here’s how it works.
If you lose your way or venture into an off-the-beat track, you can easily find the way out by reading all the signs and words or asking passersby for help. Similarly, speaking a foreign language can help in case of minor health issues (e.g., you may go to a pharmacist for common cold medicine and easily ask for it) or in emergencies (e.g., accidents). Likewise, you can avoid pickpockets in crowds because you are too smart to understand the language thieves use to communicate with their crime partners.
6. Save your money
How can learning languages and phrases save you money while traveling? It’s because you can easily bargain with vendors by conversing with them in the local language. The merchants are more inclined to negotiate the rate of goods and services and stop scamming you when you speak in their language. Making new friends in alienated places can help save you accommodation costs (if they are kind enough) and make you aware of real prices. You also won’t have to spend on tour guides since you can speak the language and visit the area independently. A whole sum of money and time can be saved by knowing where you should travel to or which train you should catch, and it is possible by speaking to local people.
7. Make the most of your trip
Understanding the language of the country you are traveling to can help you make the most of your trip as there’s no need to confine yourself to interacting on a touristic level alone. You can express respect by greeting locals and getting a warm welcome. You’ll be able to order the food you want to satisfy your craving, visit the place through the eyes of a local, explore hidden spots by contacting residents and have a rich personal experience with the native cultures. You’ll make the most of your trip by becoming more than just a tourist.
8. Unlock potential opportunities in the new land
Another importance of learning languages and phrases while traveling is to grab opportunities that open up during visits to a new land. Opportunities to make memories a simple tourist can’t make, increase your cultural sensitivity, grow your knowledge horizon, form meaningful relationships, and get a first-hand local experience to arise when you speak and understand foreign languages.
Besides these, learning new languages improves your brain & memory function and increases your chances of getting a job aboard easily. Take a step further than ordinary tourists; take the pain to learn a new language and turn your ordinary holidays into holidays of a lifetime.
Five most useful languages in the world to learn
If you are traveling to one of the ‘core Anglosphere,’ i.e., the USA, the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, proficiency in English is a must to eliminate the bewilderment of living in their new culture. English is the first language in over 50 countries, so learning it will help you learn more about diverse cultures and communicate with global citizens.
Touted as the most spoken language in the world with over 1.2 billion speakers, the Chinese language is gaining importance day by day, and learning it is the best way to understand the most eye-opening and intricately woven Chinese culture. Since the Chinese-speaking population is found worldwide, studying Mandarin will open the door to the world.
If you want to travel to the French-speaking world (French is an official language in 25+ nations), be it for a holiday, business, or other purposes, studying French is the best choice because it is the language of high culture which is easy to learn. You can access a whole wealth of learning materials for French courses. ‘What is a sea in French?” It’s ‘ la Mer.
With over 500 million speakers worldwide, Spanish is one of the most spoken languages in the world, and if you are planning to travel to Latin American countries, a good grasp of the Spanish language will help you get most of your stay there and understand Spanish culture from a closer angle. ‘Hola Gente,’ i.e., Hello People
There are more than 600 million Hindi speakers worldwide, and you may add to that population by learning to speak Hindi. This language is linked to Sanskrit, and studying it will give you a detailed insight into its vast history and help you fit into the growing Indian economy.