It’s the heart of the winter, and around this time of year those of us in the Northern Hemisphere often entertain the idea of skipping town for a few days or weeks in favor of a warmer locale. If you’re one of the lucky ones who gets to take a break from life and travel somewhere new and exciting, we’ve got some tools for you to check out before you go. After all, it is a vacation, so you probably want to ensure your travels are stress-free.
First, do you speak the language where you’re heading? How much time do you have? If you’re not leaving for another couple months, give us a call at (513) 745.0888! We frequently offer group and private language classes.
If you’re leaving, say, tomorrow, we can’t make you conversationally fluent overnight. So, here are a few things to check out that could help you on your journey. (And remember, a smile never hurts when asking strangers for help or directions.)
Asking for directions, Varnasi, India. Photo Courtesy: Jackson Lee
The BBC’s “Other Languages” page has essential phrases like “Do you speak English?” and “I need help, please” in forty languages. The best part? No guessing at how to pronounce the transliterated text on your screen; each phrase is accompanied by a mp3 file so you can listen to a native speaker say the phrase. http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/other/quickfix/
What about signs when you’re over there? How are you going to navigate your way around town? Well, as with most things, now there’s an app for that.
Another question: What are you going to eat there? A lot of finicky eaters encounter unwanted stress when it comes down to dinner. Reading a menu in another language can be stressful, and even if you do manage to get your hands on something you can decipher, you might not know what some of the regional or cultural dishes are composed of. If your destination is in Europe… check this article out. http://goeurope.about.com/od/culinaryandwine/tp/menu_translator.htm
To get a better idea of how Americans compare with the people where you’re going, take a look at The site compares nations and cultures around the globe to the US, and can direct you to reading materials if you’re interested in learning more. Hopefully that will give you a better idea at where the people you’ll be encountering are coming from, but there’s no better way to learn about a place than by going there!
Enjoy the trip, and write us while you’re away!