While travel itself is an incredible experience, there is one powerful way to elevate your adventure: language. Learning a new language can open new doors, bridge cultural divides, and make your journey even more authentic. So enrich your travel experience with these 4 reasons to learn a new language.
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My family is actually from Italy and learning Italian has always been something I wanted to do. So before my first-ever international trip to Italy, I learned a few words so that I would feel more comfortable, and I could be respectful. When I got back from my trip I did try learning more Italian. I tried watching Youtube videos, reading books, and even listening to podcasts.
Unfortunately, I could never keep up with any of these. None of these ways ever kept my interest. I either didn’t have time for the hour-long lesson or I would zone out while listening. So needless to say, I still don’t know much Italian. But, I did find a new way to learn, and it has been great so far.
Before I get into how I am learning, let me share 4 reasons to learn a new language.
4 Reasons to Learn a New Language
Respect and Appreciation
Learning even just a little bit of the local language shows respect for the locals. Even if you only learn the basics, locals appreciate the effort and may even be more friendly toward you. Showing your interest in the culture and willingness to engage with the locals will go a long way.
I have 2 specific experiences that stand out from my travels regarding learning the local language. One good and one bad.
First the bad. I was visiting Germany with Kyle. I learned just the basics like Hi/Bye, Yes/No, and Thank you. The night we arrived we were exhausted from traveling and walked into a restaurant. The guy behind the bar, who happened to be the owner, immediately started speaking German. He spoke so fast and before I could even get a word out he started speaking English and telling us that we were rude for not learning German.
So while that is an extreme example, it also gave me some perspective. This man, even though quite rude, was probably fed up with tourists coming in and not putting in any effort, but expecting him to put in the effort to be able to communicate with tourists.
Now for the good. I was visiting Costa Rica with a friend. I took four years of Spanish in high school and can understand and speak very basic Spanish. We were in a taxi for about an hour. The driver spoke very little English but because we both knew a little bit of Spanish and we broke out the very handy Google Translate we were able to talk and joke with the taxi driver. Just putting in that effort made the ride so much more enjoyable and we were able to get to where we needed to go.
This is a huge reason to learn a bit of the local language. This way you can read directions, ask for help, or when dealing with transportation. This also helps prevent miscommunications and falling for scams.
Being able to communicate can give you peace of mind especially if you get lost or there is an emergency. Think of speaking the local language as an extra layer of protection while traveling.
Not only does learning a new language help you get around and give you peace of mind, but it also helps you grow personally. Learning a language is challenging and so rewarding. It helps stimulate your brain and improve memory and problem-solving skills.
As you learn a language you are also growing as a person which in return builds your confidence as well. Becoming more confident is great especially when traveling. Confidence empowers you to step out of your comfort zone, embrace new challenges, and gain resilience.
Enhanced Travel Experience
Speaking the local language opens the door to unique experiences and hidden gems. You can interact with locals in a way that may not be accessible to people who don’t speak the language.
This enhances your travel experience by immersing you in the culture. You can explore local markets, dine in authentic restaurants, and explore smaller towns or hidden gems that may not be accessible or able to be found without communicating with locals.
Of course, there are many reasons to learn a new language but to me, these are the most important. Now, how do you learn a new language? I know we are all busy and it takes time, patience, and discipline to learn a language.
That’s where Babbel comes in. Babbel is one of the top language-learning apps in the world and can help you start speaking a new language in as little as 3 weeks! Babbel teaches real-world conversations that prepare you for travels.
They have different subscriptions to choose from including a one-payment lifetime subscription. They also offer a live-class subscription. This includes self-paced courses as well. With any subscription sign up you get 2 free live classes.
When you sign up you can take a placement test so if you do know the basics you can start at a higher level. You also set your goals and how quickly you want to reach them. The daily reminders are a game-changer for me. I get so busy so having the reminder helps keep me accountable.
Each lesson is only about 15 min which is perfect for my busy lifestyle.
There are so many ways to learn on Babbel. The self-paced lessons, live classes, games, and even podcast episodes so you can listen on the go. The lessons include writing, speaking, and flashcards to help no matter what kind of learner you are.
Grazie Babbel! I’m learning so much. I can’t wait until my next trip to Italy.
What language do you want to learn and why? Leave a comment and let me know.
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