Traveling To Learn New Languages

Learn New Languages

It is not uncommon for long term travellers to end up having a random collection of phrases from all over the world stored up in their minds. As they hop through various countries they to pick up various bits of local lingo in order to get by, and many backpackers make a point of ensuring that they can at least say something in the national language.

Not only is it useful to be able to communicate with the people around you, but if you learn new languages as you move around, you are also being respectful. You’re a guest in their country, and to immerse yourself in the culture the first step is to be able to say a few things in their dialect. Many people actually use language learning as their own personal reason to travel, giving them a strong vocabulary from various different languages and opening their lives up to more and more experiences.

Why learn another language?

The benefits of learning another language are endless as it leads to many different open doors and opportunities. The obvious benefit is that it makes travel easier because you can communicate with the people around you. Order the things you want in restaurants, making sure you’re taking the right bus, and communicating with staff in hotels are just a few situations in which speaking the local language will come in handy. The more you can speak, the more you can interact with the local people and have full conversations with them, giving you a greater understanding of the place you’re visiting.

On many occasions I have come across locals who beam with pride when you manage to speak even just a tiny bit of their language. It seems to me that many people who don’t speak English can feel like there seems to be a worldwide belief growing that they should speak English because it’s becoming the international language. So English speakers coming to their country to learn their language is a way of breaking down that barrier and helping them to keep their national identity alive. Language learning promotes cross-cultural understanding and helps develop relationships between locals and travelers.

Additionally, learning another language will help to boost your resume and improve you job prospects for the future. As the corporate world becomes more global, these kinds of companies are searching out multi-linguists more often to fill in roles in other countries.

Travel and Study

There are a number of ways that you can learn new languages and travel around the globe. The most common is to find a language school in a city or town on your route that you’d like to stay at for an extended period of time. Many travelers I’ve meet take month-long courses as they travel, and in many places it’s actually more cost-effective than taking classes before you set out on your journey. Spanish classes in South America, for example, are extremely cheap in comparison to courses in the UK or USA, and not only will you be taught by a local but you will have plenty of opportunity to use your Spanish outside the classroom.

Private lessons abroad can also prove to be very cheap and it will allow you to focus your classes on your personal needs. Many hostels will be able to put you in touch with a private tutor, and some even have their own in-house tutors that will come to the hostel to teach you. It could also be worth paring up with someone in your hostel during these lessons in order to have a study partner and someone to learn with.

Finally, almost every large city around the world has some kind of language meetup going on every week that offers a more casual setting for you to practice your language skills. These are often hosted in hostels or bars, where you can sip on a beer and chat away to new friends, both locals and other travelers, whilst building a more conversational grasp on your language of choice. Not only does this encourage you to improve in your language skills, but it helps you to meet new people on your travels and enrich your social life.


Emma Higgins has been writing and traveling on and off since 2009. Her blog, Gotta Keep Movin’ is full of stories and advice from her trips, which include Europe, India, Morocco, South America, the USA and Canada. Her main focuses are budget travel and volunteering, and she has been involved in sustainable farming in Argentina, animal shelters in Peru, and even tried her hand at making goats cheese in British Columbia. Follow her travels on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
Categories: Education

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