Some people are language lovers. Some love the way a croissant tastes in Paris. Some just need that shot of the Colosseum, laughing hysterically with an ice cream in hand, to boost their Instagram feed. A trip overseas can be an exciting occasion and there are very few reasons not to book a hotel today. Why just book a hotel though, when you can rent a house? Why not stay a little while and try every variation of pastry the French can offer or visit Treviso in Italy where none of your Insta posts will look like anyone else’s. The fact that English is not the first language in these countries is all the more reason to hit up your frequent flyer points ASAP.
IT’S NOT AS HARD AS YOU THINK
While the mental challenge of not comprehending everything you hear is tough, I promise the 45 kilo backpack containing you life’s possessions you are carting halfway across the world, is a bigger struggle. Take a language class if needed but the constant repetition and immersion in the culture will give you the leg up from day one.
Even after returning to your English speaking life and skipping past the German news on SBS, trigger words will come up in everyday life. Often other languages have words English is missing but are exactly appropriate for the situation.
YOU WILL REALIZE CULTURAL DIFFERENCES MORE EASILY
We all know toilets flush the opposite direction on the other side of the world but there are more subtle differences between cultures that are like a locked level of a video game and the only way to see it is through the language. Common words that slip into conversation or ways of explaining things break down the barrier of communication.
IT CAN BE HILARIOUS
Warning- you may be the subject of the hilarity, however the joke is often a great way to break the ice or simply show people from that country that you have a genuine interest in their culture. Nothing beats a misunderstood Collins Dictionary though- these can often lead you astray but nothing will set you up worse that Google Translate- beware.
IT IS REWARDING
Nobody likes a show-off but if your secret talent on the first day of uni is communicating via Portuguese without a blink, the people will swoon. The thing about isolation in Australia is that we practically live in quarantine and when six year old European children are on to their fifth language, a 25 year old who just arrived home from Barcelona spits, ‘hello, how are you’ with a fluent Spanish flare, the whole room will rejoice.