We live in a world divided by cultures and borders, but thankfully much of the world is unified in a desire to learn and understand from one another. And the best way to do that is arguably through language—our most common type of communication. And while traveling to different cultures certainly helps to bridge our cultural divides, it’s important to remember the power of communication extends beyond touring a foreign place. It’s that chance to speak with those that are different than us that truly teaches us.
Languages can and do bridge our borders.
And that’s why I love taking language courses when traveling. It’s a way to experience a new culture not just by seeing, touching and eating—but by engaging and speaking. It’s about learning and understanding.
There’s a simple joy in speaking a foreign language, in being able to communicate (however minimally) with a foreigner. Or, when you’re a foreigner yourself in a new place, the ability to communicate through words can have a powerful and lasting effect on your own personal journey.
Language schools offer students the opportunity to not just discover a city or a country through its tourist sites, food and activities, but through language. Eurocentres, one of the largest international language travel programs, offers study experiences in Europe, Canada, Australia, South Africa, Japan and the United States. Visit their website for information about their language study abroad programs. More than 13,000 students a year from all over the world make the language courses an intercultural adventure.
Below are four reasons why I recommend language courses when traveling.
4 REASONS TO STUDY LANGUAGES WHEN TRAVELING
1 – It’s easier to meet locals
If you don’t speak the local language while traveling, you’ll still meet plenty of locals. The tourism industry is one of the world’s largest, and whether you’re traveling solo, with a partner or in a group, you’re certainly going to come into contact with hoteliers, taxi drivers, tour guides, waiters and other service professionals. But when you speak their language, your conversation can extend beyond the most basic tourism conversations. It’s no longer about who are you and where you’re from, but even with just a basic understanding of the local lingo, you can learn about the local politics, traditions and customs—more so than if you only speak in your own language.
2 – There are more chances for romance
Let’s be honest. We’ve all had that fantasy of traveling to some far-off place, falling in love and leaving life as we know it behind. There’s a reason it’s so often in the movies! Learn a handful of useful phrases when traveling, and the proper grammar to string together some compliments, and your chances for a proper holiday romance will be tenfold.
3 – More places to discover
While new encounters with new people are always a great way to discover a new place and a new culture, it’s still important and worthwhile to see the sites. And when you speak the local language, it’s much easier to get off-the-beaten path. Imagine yourself on a road trip: when you’ve got a taste of the local language, it’s always easier to pull off on uncharted paths, stop in unexpected cities or explore just a bit more. Getting lost is easier when you’ve got the local language to fall back on.
4 – The food tastes better
Okay, well maybe it doesn’t actually taste better—but with a better understanding of the language, it is certainly much easier to order food in a restaurant. Rather than sticking to the basics, you can be a bit more adventurous once you know what’s on the menu.
Learn more about Eurocentres language learning programs abroad on their website at eurocentres.com
The Eurocentres mission is to prepare students to study, work, and live successfully in a foreign language and culture. Their programs are offered in seven different languages across the world. Check for their recent promotions here, such as 20% off select language courses.