For many ex-pats living and visiting in … well anywhere in the world. The biggest hurdle can be language. It has been mine since living in Germany, but I have learned some German. The German language, to me at least, is a pretty difficult language to learn. Where I live there is a rather large American population so most of the locals speak English as well. Though I have learned quite a few phrases and I highly recommend that YOU learn some of the languages before you go anywhere.
Why is it so important to learn something? It is common courtesy plus it shows respect. Even knowing just a few phrases before you ask “Do you speak English” will show that you are at least trying. Most people around here will automatically know I am English-speaking and speak English to me instead. It can be frustrating for those that are trying to learn a new language, but in return they may be doing the same thing.
I have also realized how important it is to learn other languages as well and I am making a huge attempt to have my children learn A language. Of course when I was in school I would ask “why would I need to learn Spanish?”…. well you will. I have spoke in Spanish a few times living here in Europe. We’ve been to Spain and I also met a family at Disneyland Paris where I have used my skills. I must say I was pretty impressed that I still remembered some fragments, but I am pretty sure my grammar was absolutely horrid.
Recommendations on what to learn:
- Thank you
- How are you?
- Where is the Toilet?
- Do you speak English?
- Numbers (big one)
- How much?
- Where is _______?
- _____ Hotel
- grocery store?
- And so forth
Of course for us being in Europe has been a challenge because not only are we learning German, but when we visit another country we are using another language. My kids loved visiting Scotland (Yay! English) & they are certainly going to love visiting London next month (Yay! English!). Just keep in mind you can communicate in more than 1 way i.e. language. Body language, maybe photos, pointing, or using an app to translate what you are looking for. I highly recommend using Word Lens! Though I have to say that the greatest reward is hearing your children speaking another language. My kids say bitte (please), danke (thanks), tchuss etc all the time and I absolutely LOVE it!
Do you have any tips for language barriers? Please comment below!
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